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St. John's learners advise job centre

As part of Autism Acceptance Month in May, the St. John’s College citizenship group, Allowing for Autism, participated in a series of outreach visits to the Brighton and Hove Job Centre to assess whether the new building was accessible and ‘friendly’ for neurodiverse visitors.

The learners assessed the site against a wide range of environmental, organisational, and social criteria, identified barriers to access and, through discussion, devised strategies to minimise their impact. The learners then returned to present their findings and give short presentations on how they experience the world, as young autistic adults.

Our learners said:

It is important for the job centre to be friendly to autistic people as they are sensitive to a lot of things. Autistic people face many barriers when out and about, including sensory barriers, such as lighting or noise, coping with crowds or busy environments and communicating with others, especially if they are unfamiliar.

Our outreach group goes into the community and works as a team to check if places are autism friendly so people with autism can feel safe and included when they go to different places. We want to make the world accessible for everyone.

We were invited to assess the job centre because the staff wanted to know if they are autism-friendly or if they can do anything differently or be better at including autistic people. We visited them on 28 March 2023. If it wasn’t autism-friendly, it would be hard for an autistic person to cope, they would find it too hard to visit and get the support they need to get a job. We want to help autistic people get jobs.

Principal Karen Grist added;

This is a fabulous piece of work which involves not only excellent learning outcomes for the learners as they prepared and participating but also demonstrating valuable impact on a local community organisation! Well done!

Feedback from staff at job centre staff was equally positive;

It was really great to see you all yesterday and we loved listening to your feedback. Thank you all for attending and we really appreciate your honesty and ideas. We have contacted one of our health model offices (in Slough) today who are autism-accredited to ask them to share some information, regarding their signs. We may go and visit their office for ideas to see how we can improve ours.

Contact us if you are curious to know if you are an autism friendly organisations and want to work with us. Help us to help you make Brighton a safe and accessible city for autistic people!