A new online autism awareness training package has been developed by Croydon Council and has been launched to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week.
Although targeted initially at those living or working with autism the module, hosted on the council’s e-learning website, is of use to anyone interested in understanding the condition. It provides useful and practical ways of identifying common signs and gives advice on how to deal with autism in day-to-day situations.
The project has been funded by a grant from the Department of Health and developed locally with the support of families and those using autism support services. Access to the module is free for anyone living or working in Croydon, and a small fee of £20 is charged for anyone accessing the site from elsewhere.
“Our new course gives people an excellent and clear introduction to and awareness of autism. This condition affects almost 1% of the population in some way. It’s not something that can be cured, but once it is recognised, those who suffer from it can be supported and helped to cope.
“As a council we fully back the national ‘Think Autism’ campaign which is why we made the decision to invest in something that would help spread understanding as far as possible. Using the government’s grant to make access to the site free of charge for local people is just part of our commitment to improving the lives of those who live with autism.”
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care
The course takes about an hour to complete, but is full of helpful information. It clearly explains the range of needs of people on the autism spectrum and it helps to dispel many myths about the condition.
Cllr Andrew Rendle is the borough’s autism champion, having personal experience of supporting two autistic sons. He said: “The Croydon Autism Service already provides really successful awareness training. We hope this new online course will help to promote awareness wider and faster.
“We want as many people as possible in Croydon to take the course because one in a hundred of the population are on the autism spectrum. That’s one in a hundred of our neighbours, friends, colleagues and customers – some 3,500 people in our borough alone.
“We are going to be encouraging businesses to ensure that their staff to take up this training so that they can recognise when a customer may be displaying signs of autism and therefore treat them appropriately.”
Anyone who lives or works in Croydon can try the new course can register with a valid local postcode.