Copeland MP and team take part in autism awareness training

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and her team have taken part in autism awareness training.

The session was delivered by Jemma Swales, an autism practitioner who works with children and families in the Millom and South Cumbria area.

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition affecting how someone communicates with, and relates to, other people.

It also affects a person’s social interaction, communication, interests, behaviours and how they make sense of the world.

Recent studies suggest autism affects one in 68 people and there are an estimated 70,000 autistic people in the UK.

Jemma is one of the founders of Autus - a not-for-profit organisation which works with families, schools and youth groups to provide support and services for those who are autistic in the South Cumbria area.

She told the Copeland MP and team how to be aware if someone is autistic, how to help and communicate effectively with them and how an environment can be adapted for those with differing sensory needs, as part of the two-hour session.

The training was organised thanks to Millom-based group Shine for Autism – a community-led initiative driven by dedicated parents, carers and professionals which aims to create an autism-friendly community by developing knowledge and understanding, leading to unconditional acceptance and integration.

Mrs Harrison said: “Shine for Autism is making a huge difference locally in helping people to better understand autism, they offered to organise an information session for us and I commend their pro-active and positive approach.

“This session with Jemma was hugely beneficial and allowed us to try and begin to understand the mind of someone who is autistic and how they process information and make sense of what is around them.

“She gave us an excellent insight into the world of autism, how people with the condition think differently, their differing behaviour patterns and also sensory issues. It is hugely complex but she told us there are also some very simple things that we can do to help communicate effectively.”

Jemma said: “It was a pleasure to speak with Mrs Harrison and her team. Autism awareness is a huge part of the work we do at Autus and the more understanding we can spread to all areas of the community, the more the autistic mind will be accepted as a valued part of society.”

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