On March 2nd as a part of #WeeksOfAction, Level Playing Field staff were fortunate enough to take part in an online webinar from ‘The Autism Directory’.
The charity is based in Wales and covers the UK, with a vision of:
“A society where those with autism are accepted as equals and form an integral part of their communities, pursuing their ambitions, supporting themselves as much as they can and have a life which they enjoy waking up to each day.”
The webinar provided the background on autism sharing some of the barriers that someone on the spectrum may face and how these can be overcome with practical tips.
The second part of the session was focused on the real-life experience of attending live sport from the perspective of someone with Autism. They shared their views and matchday routine, outlining clearly what assisted their matchday and what made it challenging.
Some insight we drew from the sessions in making stadia more accessible for fans with Autism:
- A greater level of information about the whole matchday experience (including arriving and leaving) helps to reduce some of the anxiety.
- Stewards and matchday staff training to assist fans has a big impact.
- Having a designated point of contact for fans to get in touch with key questions.
Owain Davies, Level Playing Field Chief Executive said: “We recognise that disability is a diverse spectrum including autism. In most cases there isn’t a one size fits all solution to providing better access. It is important to have an open dialogue with fans and to be available for questions and answers. Having The Autism Directory deliver this insightful webinar was important for us to strengthen our knowledge to better inform clubs and other stakeholders on what good access for fans with Autism looks like.
The landscape of access and inclusion is an evolving nature, the current minimum standards should be seen as just that – an absolute minimum and we need to aim much higher. To see progress and development we need to learn, respond, and innovate our provision and practices. Through webinars such as this along with engaging with disabled fans on a regular basis we will achieve this.”