Leeds Autism Services are breaking down barriers


Next month, April, is Autism Awareness Month and local group Leeds Autism Services (LAS) will be busy getting the message out that autism is something to be understood, not to be frightened of.

Art class. Photo courtesy of Leeds Autism Service
Art class. Photo courtesy of Leeds Autism Service

“Light it up blue” is the slogan and local campaigners in Leeds have persuaded the First Direct Leeds Arena to light the building in blue all day on 2 April – World Autism Awareness Day. LAS will also be taking their exhibition to the St John’s Centre and speaking to shoppers there on Thursday 27 March.

LAS work with 58 clients from their centres in Hunslet and Armley. They offer a wide range of activities including horse riding, swimming, photography and art. They also support people with life skills such as cooking and language support.

According to the National Autistic Society, autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in different ways. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism.

LAS work to help people with autism and their families, but also to raise awareness of the condition. Their aim is to help sufferers become more engaged in the community.

Autism is a condition that affects the senses. Information from the eyes, ears, touch, etc is processed in a different way. This can lead to overstimulation, which can be very distressing and may result to what appears to be an overreaction to an ordinary situation. As a result people with autism often feel isolated and ‘different’.

Leeds Autism Service VACS logoLAS are constantly looking for ways to raise money to support their work. Supporters have climbed to the top of Bridgewater Place, Yorkshire’s tallest building and the group are asking shops to display charity collection boxes. If you can help, please contact Karl Wilson at LAS on (0113) 245 2645 or email: karlwilson@las.uk.net.