The Roman Baths has been recognised for its commitment to making facilities accessible to autistic people with an award from the National Autistic Society.
The society presented the Roman Baths with an Autism Friendly Award last night (Thursday, 19 May) after it praised the attraction for the high level of training given to staff on autism, and for adjustments to suit autistic people, such as information in advance, quiet areas, and attention to appropriate lighting and control of sound.
This award is the third this year that recognises the efforts made by the Roman Baths to cater for all types of visitor following a Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity in the South West Tourism Awards 2015/16 and a Silver Award in the Access for All category in Visit England’s Awards for Excellence 2016.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “As one of the country’s top heritage attractions, the Roman Baths welcomes more than one million visitors every year. Staff at the Roman Baths have worked hard to ensure that this welcome is extended to visitors with special needs, and we are delighted to have received an Autism Friendly Award.”
The society praised the centre’s visitor guide for autistic people, which uses a combination of text and visual information and was written by a student with Asperger syndrome from Farleigh College, who was offered work experience at the Roman Baths.
Recognition was also given to the front of house staff’s system of logging pre-arranged visitors with special needs to ensure that the appropriate support is offered to allow them to enjoy their visit.
The society was also impressed with the information for autistic visitors on the Roman Baths website and social media pages.
Daniel Cadey, Autism Access Development Manager at the National Autistic Society, said: “We’re so pleased to present the Roman Baths with the Autism Friendly Award. At the National Autistic Society we know that autistic people should have all the same opportunities as everyone else to visit everyday amenities and attractions, like the Roman Baths, but too often find their surroundings overwhelming or face judgement from the public or staff who aren’t aware of autism or don’t understand the condition.
We want to change this by encouraging as many places as possible to commit to making their facilities welcoming to those on the spectrum and would like to congratulate the Roman Baths for the fantastic efforts they have made to become an autism-friendly location.”
The award was presented at the event last night, which celebrated the winning features of the Roman Baths and showcased the National Autistic Society’s latest awareness campaign Too Much Information.
For more information on the Roman Baths and its accessibility visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/accessibility.
The National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Founded in 1962, it provides information, support and pioneering services, and campaigns for a better world for people on the autism spectrum.
To find out more about autism or the NAS, visit www.autism.org.uk.
Follow the NAS on Twitter (@Autism) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/NationalAutisticSociety).
What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK.
Every person on the autism spectrum is different. It can present some serious challenges – but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives.
Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may:
Be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult
Find social situations and change a challenge, sometimes leading to extreme levels of anxiety
Experience a ‘meltdown’ if overwhelmed by anxiety or sensory overload
Benefit from extra time to process and respond to communication.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.