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World Autism Awareness Week: Powerful video highlights difficulties autistic people face on public transport

A charity has released a short film to help raise awareness of the issues autistic people face when travelling on public transport.

In light of World Autism Awareness Week, The National Autistic Society are using their Too Much Information campaign to highlight the impact that unexpected changes and difficult environments have on autistic people .

The video highlights how bright, flashing lights, claustrophobic environments and loud sounds on public transport can leave an autistic person feeling unsettled and anxious.

Playing the lead role in the short film is aspiring actress 21-year-old Saskia Lupin, who is autistic and struggles with commuting herself.

Writing for the Huffington Post, she spoke of her personal fears surrounding public transport.

She said: "I struggle a lot with the unexpected changes that can take place: they make me feel anxious, they make me panic, they make me angry but overall I feel confused, like I can’t do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

It is revealed at the end of the film that Saskia's character is imagining all the potentially stressful situations she could find herself in as she prepares to take a busy train.

The film has resonated with many on social media for its depiction of people with the disability.

The aim of the National Autistic Society's campaign, named Too Much Information, is to challenge the issues that lead autistic people to feel socially isolated.

In the UK, around 700,000 people have conditions on the autism spectrum. Only 16% of autistic people feel that the public understands their needs.

The National Autistic Society are encouraging people to educate themselves on autism and how the disability can affect someone's day to day life.

Credit: PA

WHAT IS AUTISM?

Autism is a lifelong disability that affects the way a person communicates. Many people with autism struggle to express themselves and form relationships with other people.

Autism is considered to be a spectrum condition, meaning that some people who have the disability will need more support than others.

People who have autism are at a significantly higher risk of other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Some difficulties a person with autism can face can include:

  • Sensory sensitivity
  • Discomfort in social situations
  • Obsession, repetition and routine
  • Challenges surrounding time management, organisation and planning

WHAT IS WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS WEEK?

The National Autistic Society looks to educate on the small changes that can be made to prevent autistic people feeling overwhelmed when doing everyday activities.

Every year from 26th March to 2nd April, the charity encourages the people to take part in events to raise money in support of those with autism, from Night Walks to charity activities at schools.

The funding goes towards future campaigns and training for volunteers working with those on the autistic spectrum.

Credit: LYNNE CAMERON/PA

HOW CAN YOU HELP SOMEONE WHO HAS AUTISM?

According to The National Autistic Society, there are many situations that people with autism find overwhelming.

Simple changes such as using clear language, avoiding changes to plans and being patient can help someone with a autism-spectrum condition feel more at ease.

For more information, read The National Autistic Society's tips here.