Friendly staff is the most important factor for UK attractions in meeting the needs of those on the autism spectrum, a new survey reveals. Over 80% said a welcoming attitude beat factors such as having a quiet area (72 per cent), parking available close to the venue (64 per cent) and the availability of online written information (55 per cent). One of the respondents said “experiences are made and broken by other people”.
The study by the National Autistic Society was carried out ahead of the publication of the new, seventh edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain and demonstrated some simple things that venues and attractions can do to make days out more accessible for autistic people and their families.
The revamped edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain follows advice from the National Autistic Society and includes information for visitors with more hidden conditions, such as autism or mental illness.
The guide celebrates venues that have implemented ideas to support people with access needs such as quiet mornings, picture stories, clear information, video content online or bespoke queuing arrangements. 98 per cent of respondents said they would be inclined to go out more often if venues were better able to support them in these ways.
Respondents also highlighted some of the UK venues and organisations that offer the best supportive days out for those on the autism spectrum. Eden Project in Cornwall and Windsor Castle were mentioned for the detailed information available ahead of visiting, good signage and friendly staff. The National Trust was also lauded for its accessible attractions. Information on these venues and 180 more are featured in the revamped edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain.
Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society commented:
“Autistic people have a diverse range of interests and needs. By increasing staff understanding of autism in settings and services, they may be better able to access venues and attractions of interest to them, where necessary using accessible public transport. Where venues are already demonstrating good practice, it is important to also increase public understanding of autism.
“Tools such as The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain also prove invaluable. Improving the detail and quality of information shared with the public offers greater choice and control for people on the autism spectrum, better enabling them to live the life they choose.”
The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain provides clear and helpful advice to highlight the very best inclusive and accessible days out for people of all abilities, from museums and art galleries, to wildlife parks and gardens. The guide is an ideal planning tool for anyone with access needs. The expanded guide includes many new entries for 2018 including Windsor Castle, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Monkey World, Hyde Hall in Essex and Sandcastle Waterpark in Blackpool.
The refreshed guide showcases many examples of best practice, with venues large and small providing imaginative solutions to the challenges posed by hidden disabilities. Every venue is thoroughly checked out by Rough Guides’ team of reviewers, who either have a disability themselves or visited the venue with a disabled friend or relative.
The research, conducted via a survey and two focus groups gathered answers from over 150 respondents made up of those on the autism spectrum, parents and carers.
The refreshed and enhanced Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is now available online at accessibleguide.co.uk
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