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Autism Connect interface

In early March, Autism Alliance UK launched an exciting new version of Autism Connect, a social media platform for people with autism and their families. It offers a platform to connect with like-minded people, find local service providers and access free information resources.

People with autism can have difficulty with communication, social understanding and sensory issues, as well as anxiety. This can mean that people with autism may struggle with building and maintaining friendships and relationships. Providing a safe, online environment empowers people by allowing them to interact in a low-risk way. People can communicate in the comfort and safety of their own homes, which can help to reduce their anxiety.

Autism Connect enables autistic people to use digital tools to engage with and learn more about their local communities. They can meet like-minded people and share their stories and experiences. They can also use features such as the Service Directory and Calendar to stay up to date on local events. The site provides peer support through story sharing and social networking as well as information resources and e-learning.

This free service offers a variety of great services for those with autism including:

• Service Directory - The service directory lists autism services nationwide and also features a ratings and review system so that users can share their experiences.
• Information resources - A great range of free e-learning courses, downloadable information sheets and visual resources that can help people learn more about autism.
• Blog Posts - Users are encouraged to write posts of their own to share with the autism community.
• Q + A - Users can ask and answer questions and search for previous answers.
• Events & Calendar - Users can find events that are happening in a specific area from coffee mornings to training workshops.

Additionally, Autism Alliance UK is currently developing a mapping tool for Autism Connect that will allow users to find services and autism-friendly locations available near them. Just in time for World Autism Awareness Day 2015, Autism Alliance UK will also release a new free e-learning package about sensory issues.

Autism Connect is funded by the Department of Health and is part of a wider project, Connect to Autism, to raise awareness of autism nationally. Autism Connect will provide a central hub for information sharing and delivery, as well as a platform for online learning.

Learn more about Autism Connect
Learn more about Autism Alliance UK and their work

Notes to editors

About Autism Alliance UK

We are the major UK network of specialist autism charities. Together, we support many thousands of people with autism, including more than 2,000 adults in residential homes, and thousands more through our outreach services. We run schools for children with autism, and we train our own staff (more than 5,000) and staff in the public and private sectors. We are on the Autism National Programme Board and on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Autism. Collectively, we have the largest concentration of practical autism expertise in the UK. We passionately believe that people with autism should develop their full potential, and we believe that specialist autism knowledge and early specialist intervention are key to achieving this.

About Autism

Autism is a life-long condition affecting around 1.1% of the population. It affects all races, classes and intellectual abilities. It is a spectrum condition meaning that it is extremely complex and affects people differently and to varying degrees. Autism is broadly defined as affecting three main areas (known as the “triad of impairments”): social communication, social interaction and social imagination. Everyone with autism is different. Whilst some people with autism lead independent lives, some need lifelong care. Others will need some degree of support, which will change over the course of their lifetime.

About Autism Awareness Month

World Autism Awareness Day occurs on 2nd April. It has been held every year since 9 September 1989. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution "62/139. World Autism Awareness Day," adopted on 18 December 2007, proposed by Qatar, and supported by all member states.

Issued by Autism Alliance UK

Catherine Klein - Communications and Marketing Manager
T: 0121 450 7582 193

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