Blog

The latest articles and ideas from Inspiring Scotland and our partners.

15.10.2020

The world needs people who think differently

In our latest blog, Autism Performance Advisor Allison Crawford writes about the development of the Different Minds. One Scotland campaign and the collaborative process which helped bring the campaign into fruition.  

Different minds. One Scotland

It’s hard to believe that from a conversation with our Scottish Government policy colleagues over a year ago about how can we increase understanding of autism in Scotland amongst non-autistic people, we’ve now got:

• A TV advert that is running on key channels like STV & Channel 4 for 6 weeks.

• Poster sites throughout Scotland including the large outdoor screens outside the Glasgow Science Centre.

A campaign poster located in Edinburgh

• An advert which has been viewed more than 32,000 times on twitter.

• A  campaign debunking some of the myths surrounding autism.

• A new website called www.differentminds.scot

• 9 charities delivering projects across Scotland which will raise understanding of autism amongst employers and community venues.  

A collaborative process

Most importantly, the campaign came together with the support and input of some amazing autistic people who helped to shape and implement this campaign. It could never and should never have come together any other way. Their involvement was invaluable and continues to be.

We had over 50 autistic people who took part in the Advisory Forums across Scotland. The Autistic People Led organisations and our steering committee member’ views were crucial to the final content both of the advert but also the www.differentminds.scot website.

The process wasn’t always an easy one as there were many different opinions, but ultimately having this collaboration was paramount to the success of the campaign. Inspiring Scotland constantly strive to learn and develop our processes in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. To help us with this, we are currently gathering feedback from the autism advisory forum members to learn more about how we can continue to build on the success of the forums.

Increasing our understanding of autism

The Increasing Understanding of Autism programme’s work is continuing.

No one underestimates the challenge of improving the lives of autistic people living in Scotland. There are still only around 2 in 10 autistic adults in Scotland in full-time employment, getting a diagnosis can be difficult and lengthy, post diagnostic support isn’t always available and for some autistic children, school can still be a challenging place.

One of the campaign highlights for me has to be the video put together by autistic members of the forum debunking 10 myths that non-autistic people can have about autism. Seeing people who we started to talk to about this a year ago talking about what autism isn’t, was amazing. This ties in brilliantly with what the campaign is all about- learning from autistic people themselves about autism. By debunking myths surrounding autism it is educating us all and challenging us to change some of the beliefs and ideas we may previously have held.

See the Autism Myths: Full Film below.

The Impact

But I’ll finish with a very positive thought, a mother tweeted that her autistic son had seen the advert and said that’s “how I feel sometimes”. If we can start to get that recognition then more people in Scotland will agree that:

“Wouldn’t the world be dull & grey if we all thought the same way

Be Kind to the autistic mind, the mind that’s a slightly different kind”

This will make Scotland a more inclusive place for autistic people to live and work.

To keep up to date with us and the campaign highlights please follow on twitter @AutismIS_

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