Our impact What we do Autism Bedfordshire’s services help break down the barriers to social participation for autistic people and their families by providing places where they can go and feel comfortable, accepted and not judged by society. With the encouragement and support of specialist trained staff we help autistic people build their confidence, self-esteem, and social skills through taking part in social activities and mixing with other people. Furthermore, we help them to develop practical skills and independence which will improve their prospects in life and help them be part of the community. Our aspirations are for them to have the same opportunities as people who are not on the spectrum, so that they can enjoy fulfilled and rewarding lives. How we can help The physical and emotional stress of looking after an autistic child or adult is a huge strain on the parents and we want them to feel that they are not alone in their struggles. They can come to us for practical advice, information and emotional support so that they will be better equipped to cope with and care for their autistic children and any other siblings. We provide opportunities for them to have a guilt-free break from their caring responsibilities, safe in the knowledge their autistic child is being well looked after by staff who understand the challenges that autism can present. Communities Finally, we raise awareness of autism in the community in order to reduce misunderstanding about the condition. Through training and informative talks we educate schools, local businesses and community groups about the sort of behaviours that an autistic person may display and how best to respond to and be supportive of them. With our increasing presence at community events, members of the public can also become more knowledgeable about and accepting of autism. In this way we hope that autistic people will find it easier to engage with and integrate into mainstream society.