University venues take part in Autism Hour
Date: 8th Oct 2018
Buckinghamshire New University will be dimming its lights and turning off music in its cafes and library to be more autism-friendly this week.
The High Wycombe University will be making its cafes and library ‘autism-friendly’ for one hour every day, between 2-3pm, until Friday for the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, part of the Too Much Information campaign.
More than 1 in 100 of the population have been diagnosed with autism.
Maureen O’Brien, Disability Service Manager at Bucks (pictured right), said: “I noticed that some of our students on the autistic spectrum were using our study lounge to have their lunch instead of the main cafes in the University.
“I have a 25-year-old son on the autistic spectrum so I have had many years of experience of the effects of sensory pain, it’s not fun and often unbearable.
“Our cafes can be overwhelming with lots of background noise and chatting, music and the food smells - it would be these things which meant some of those on the spectrum were taking themselves away from that environment. So I thought it would be a great idea to join the society’s campaign.”
This is the first time that Bucks has taken part, but it is now looking into ways venues on the campus can adapt long-term, like soundproof canvases.
Georgia Nosal, Bucks Students' Union Vice President Education and Welfare (pictured above left), said: “It’s really important that all of our venues are inclusive.
“Students should feel safe and comfortable in all areas of the university so we are really happy to be taking part. Not only is this a good way to make our venues more accessible, but it’s also a great way to raise awareness among students of the struggles those on the autistic spectrum face day-to-day.
“Every student I’ve spoken to thinks it’s a great idea and it has made them think about how they can possibly adapt their own outlook and behaviour to help too.”
Maureen O'Brien says everyone can help. "The aim is to help create an autistic-friendly environment through the promotion of areas of visual and auditory tranquillity."
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. Its goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.