The National Autistic Society launched its ‘Too Much Information’ public awareness campaign earlier this year, in an aim to increase public understanding of autism.
The charity’s latest move sees virtual reality being utilised to replicate the experiences of a child with autism. The film, named ‘Can You Make it to the End?’ stimulates the sights and sounds of a busy shopping centre as experienced by someone on the autism spectrum.
Chief executive of the National Autistic Society, Mark Lever said: “Half of autistic people and their families sometimes or often don’t leave their houses because they may receive judgemental and negative reactions to their autism from other members of the public. Virtual reality is such a fantastic medium and we want to use it to help people identify with a young autistic boy who is having a crisis in a shopping centre.”
The first shopping centre to host the event will be Intu Bromley, and shoppers visiting the centre on 23rd-24th August will be able to wear virtual reality headsets to experience the film.
This follows an announcement made by Intu Bromley claiming that next year they will be introducing a number of measures to help people with autism. The measures will include awareness training for members of staff and specially designed alert cards to help staff members assist shoppers with autism.
The event will be toured across the UK and hosted in 15 Intu shopping centres and other venues. Members of the public can also watch the video online on the charity’s website, or can download the 360 degree experience app for free. If unable to visit an event, members of the public can order their own cardboard VR goggles on the charity’s online shop. There are also online school resources and lesson plans available.
So far, the film has helped 56 million people gain a deeper understanding of autism.