We held our third annual Autism Acceptance Walk on Saturday 1st April 2017 to help raise understanding and inclusion of those living with neurological differences (timed to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week to highlight Autism Acceptance). Luckily, the sun shone down on us as we were joined by our families past and present, teaching staff from the schools we support and our lovely team of loyal volunteers. It was particularly heartening to welcome back some of our older mentoring students who returned as volunteers, serving as great role models to the younger children and demonstrating the improvements they continue to make in terms of their communication and interaction, confidence and independence. Thank you Milosz, Sam and Christopher.
Led by our gorgeous white ponies Blackjack and Pedra (who had been bathed especially the night before!), we undertook a 3.2 mile circular route starting at The Academy Health Club and Spa, through Valley Gardens and into the town centre. Taking some of our herd from their natural environment of a field into a busy shopping precinct serves as a good metaphor for how life can be for those on the autism spectrum – experiencing high levels of anxiety and uncertainty as they struggle to ‘fit in’ and negotiate a world governed by complex, unwritten social ‘rules’ and language, all the while assaulted by an overload of sensory information.
Our youngest volunteers Ben, Sophie and Natasha charmed the good people of Harrogate to donate generously, giving us a total raised on the day of £292.77. Every penny raised will make a difference in helping us support local families in need.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and we hope to see you next year!
Photos kindly provided by Steve from Nidd Gorge Photography