Autism Anglia Passport Scheme in Essex

Autism is a spectrum. This isn’t about the erroneous phrase “everyone’s a little bit autistic” but rather understanding that autism presents differently in every autistic person.

 

With this in mind, Autism Anglia have created an Autism Passport Scheme to make communicating an individual’s needs easier. We spoke to Autism Anglia to find out more.

 

What is the Autism Passport Scheme?

Autism Anglia’s Autism Passport is a pocket-sized document that is available to download free of charge from their website or hard copies sent on request.

The person with autism can fill in information about how their autism presents as well as any difficulties with communication and emergency contact details. They can then present this document to someone to help explain their situation and any adjustments they may require.

 

What gave you the idea for the scheme?

The Passport was written by Annie Sands, the manager for the North East Essex Advocacy Service, who is herself autistic and a parent of autistic children, in response to her experiences when representing many individuals over the years.

Annie said: “The idea came about after representing so many people at tribunals, DWP appointments, and face-to-face appoints for work capability assessments and PIP applications.

“A question often posed by professionals is, how does your autism affect you?

“I thought it would be much easier to have an autism passport where specific points can be entered into it. This could then be sent with the tribunal bundle, DWP forms, etc. Tribunal panels remarked how the passport helped to understand the autistic person, and enabled them to make any reasonable adjustments.”

 

How did you go about creating the Passport?

Annie combined feedback from the autistic community about what they have found stressful, coupled with the types of reasonable adjustments that can be made and to ensure autistic people are not at a disadvantage.

Annie said: “Being autistic enabled me to have some kind of representation of the autistic community. However, I am only one autistic person, so we reached out to the autistic community with the idea for feedback of how it should look, and what content to put into the passport. We also looked for sponsors who had a good understanding of autism. It has been sponsored by Anna Kennedy OBE, Suffolk Law Centre, and Goody Burretts Solicitors.”

 

Where is the Passport recognised?

The Autism Passport is a legal document and can be used in a variety of situations, e.g. court settings, police stations, Job Centres, doctors’ surgeries, religious settings, councils, and for employment purposes.

 

Who is the Passport suitable for?

The passport can be used by children and adults with autism. It has also recently been translated into Ukrainian and Russian to support people with autism affected by the conflicts in the Ukraine.

 

Find out more about the Autism Anglia Passport Scheme and other support offered by the group by visiting their website.

by Alice Smales

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