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Autism awareness week in Wales

PEOPLE with autism across Wales have joined their creative forces in a show of togetherness and inclusivity to mark World Autism Awareness Week (March 29 – April 4).

A giant art installation has been created from 90 individual pieces of artwork and has gone on display at Orbis Education and Care’s café, shop and life-skills centre The Orb in Swansea.

The artwork has been created to help raise awareness of autism in the wider community, with young people and adults at Orbis Education and Care taking part in the project. Entitled ‘Unifying Orbis to Celebrate Autism’, contributors include those living at Bangeston Hall in Pembroke.

It is being displayed in partnership with the children’s charity Blue Balloon and is one of a series of World Autism Awareness Week initiatives that Orbis Education and Care is running under the theme of ‘Talk About Autism’; a campaign designed to raise awareness and get communities talking.

Amanda Morgan-Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at Orbis Education and Care said: “Creating this piece of artwork has been a very special experience for the children and adults we support and also our hard-working staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to make sure the needs of those we support continue to be met.

“It is hugely symbolic of the togetherness we feel as an organisation in not only continuing to raise awareness of autism within our wider communities, but in also remaining united during a time which has separated many of us, and the people we care for, from loved ones.”

Orbis Education and Care runs 17 schools, residential homes and two community life skills centres for children and adults with complex needs associated with autism and is one of the UK’s leading specialist providers.

It is also running a virtual Makaton choir session and introducing a new training video for staff focusing on sensory trauma to raise awareness of the impact it can have for an autistic person as part of its World Autism Awareness Week celebrations.

The Blue Balloon Charity that Orbis has partnered with offers personal and financial support to children in need, with £250 raised so far in recognition of the art project from local businesses and individual supporters.

World Autism Awareness Week runs annually to help improve people’s understanding of autism globally and help make the world friendlier to those who are affected by the lifelong neurodevelopmental condition.

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Amanda said: “The autism support community continues to work hard to make sure families affected by autism continue to thrive. We have a collective responsibility as carers, friends, family members and as human beings to continue raising awareness and promoting a better understanding of autism generally.”

“That’s why events like World Autism Awareness Week are so important.”