Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, was delighted to attend the official launch of the Autism Alert Scheme in Bexhill on Friday 29 June.
The event was organised by Alice Parker who created the Autism Alert Scheme with the support of Christina Ewbank, of the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) and Patron of the scheme. The event was attended by Bexhill businesses and organisations who recently completed the Autism Alert training become members of the scheme.
Alice Parker is an Autism Practitioner and parent of a child with autism who understands first-hand the problems faced by a child or person with autism when they are in a shopping environment. Ms Parker designed a simple scheme for retailers and service providers that has already been successfully implemented in Eastbourne with the support of the Chamber of Commerce. The scheme involves a simple training pack for retailers to advise them how they can help someone who identifies themselves as autistic. When someone enters a shop and shows a Stress Alert card to a member of staff, the retailers taking part in the scheme are immediately aware of the difficulties they or their parents or carer may be facing and can then help them by getting a quick check out or help them with shopping.
Alice said “Autism is a lifelong, complex developmental disability which affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. When they enter a shop, bank or shopping mall, they may suffer from sensory overload and begin to behave differently or in some cases may panic causing them to scream, run or lay on the floor. As autism is a hidden disability it makes it hard for people to sympathise and this can leave families feeling isolated within their own communities. The Autism Stress Alert scheme promotes a more user-friendly environment for autistic people and reduces stress for them and their parents or carers. It is my aim to see this scheme implemented widely in our local area and eventually nationally. I am really pleased to have had the support of Huw in helping to promote the scheme in Bexhill and amongst his colleagues in Parliament.”
Huw said “I have been really impressed with Alice’s Autism Stress Alert scheme. It is incredibly simple and tasks many of us take for granted, such as popping out to the shops, can be a stressful ordeal. Autism Stress Alert helps retailers to identify and understand their customers’ needs and means that they can offer a great service. I am really pleased that so many local retailers in Bexhill have already signed up to this scheme and I hope many more will want to be involved.
Christina Ewbank said “We are delighted to support Alice in this very important endeavour. Activities like going to the shops, the bank, the doctors, the library or even to council offices can be almost impossible for someone with autism. Alice’s training and the Stress Alert Card can make all the difference.”
Autism Stress Alert is a not-for-profit company. For more information and to take part in the scheme contact Alice Parker 07476 418135 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.autismstressalert.co.uk