Autism awareness campaign gets support from Horsham PCSO

Horsham PCSO Charlene Parsons pledges her support to the West Sussex autism awareness campaign. She was attending one of several events held across the county. Picture contributed by West Sussex County Council
Horsham PCSO Charlene Parsons pledges her support to the West Sussex autism awareness campaign. She was attending one of several events held across the county. Picture contributed by West Sussex County Council

A Horsham police officer is just one of hundreds of people across West Sussex, who have pledged their support to an autism campaign.

On World Autism Day on April 2, West Sussex County Council held series of street events to raise awareness of the condition were held is towns and cities including Horsham where Charlene Parsons signed up.

Residents with autism and their families helped man stands and talked to people about living with the condition.

An estimated 9,000 people have autism in West Sussex – one in 100 people.

Janet Stockley Pollard, from Felpham, whose two sons have autism, was among those who took part at the street event in Bognor. She said: “It was a great day, spent with passionate people all working together for the same goal. It was so nice to be able to not just supply information to those wishing to know more, but also meeting so many lovely people on the autistic spectrum writing their own thoughts about autism on a white sign which they were then photographed with.”

Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “It was great that so many people stopped to find out more about autism at the street events. Events like this help to raise awareness and promote better understanding.”

Meanwhile, West Sussex residents with autism have recently been taking centre stage to raise awareness of the condition.

Fifteen residents aged from five to 79 years old share their stories of living with autism in a new poster campaign from West Sussex County Council.

The new posters can be seen around the county including libraries, GP surgeries, police stations and leisure centres.

The Understanding Autism campaign aims to challenge common stereotypes and misconceptions of the condition. The posters show that autism is a ‘hidden’ condition – you cannot tell by looking at someone that they have autism.

The county council works with a range of charities and organisations to support residents of all ages with autism.

For more information about autism see www.westsussexconnecttosupport.org/autism or The National Autistic Society at www.autism.org.uk