I was prompted ton Twitter, by the charity Dimensions, to fill in a survey they are conducting regarding Autism Friendly Screenings at cinemas and the use of public buildings that include libraries.
While filling this in, it got me thinking about where we take Tom and in particular his love of the local museums. In fact it was only the other Saturday we visited Lancaster City Museum, where he wandered about looking at the paintings, model trains (I was so glad they were still there) and of course the man in the stocks.
We also visited the library. After filling in the survey I tweeted, “What autism message would you share with the general public? #autismawareness #autisminmuseums”, and the responses were somewhat thought provoking.
Thoughts expressed included those of the problem of acoustics when in a public space, that we need to allow individuals with autism time to process information, as we often like to rush things, and to understand rather than to judge.
When reading these comments, what instantly struck me was that all of these thoughts had been considered by the young people from [Un]Heard who greeted us going into the library.
The project has been set up by six LICA students who want to creatively survey and petition for better mental health services within the Lancaster area. Over several weeks workshops are being run where people can paint, draw and create art that represents what makes them happy, this will then become a final exhibition, Campus in the City, on March 15.
When I explained Tom would not sit in the large room set up for the project, due to his autism, they kindly brought pens and paper into the library for him.
Although Tom was still not interested, he had been included and Stephen decided to sit and draw while we browsed for books. They had listened, understood, been accommodating and not passed judgement. This is true autism awareness and acceptance.
To learn more about [Un]Heard you can follow them on Twitter at @un_heardLancs and Facebook [Un]Heard.