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Meet Fiona: Autism Acceptance Week 2024

Meet Fiona: Autism Acceptance Week 2024

Meet Fiona: Autism Acceptance Week 2024

Friday 5 April, 2024

As Autism Acceptance Week 2024 is underway we spoke with Fiona, who we support in Portlethen about her (very long) list of recent achievements, and the advocacy work she does to ensure that autistic people have a voice.

Fiona works with a number of national autism and disability groups to share her experiences as an autistic woman and improve accessibility for disabled and autistic people.

There are over 700,000 autistic people in the UK but it can often be difficult to find businesses and services that are autism friendly. Since joining Real Life Options two years ago Fiona has been working hard in the local community to help change this, saying “Since joining Real Life Options I have learnt people skills and have been working in the community.” Being involved in the local community has allowed Fiona to spot areas where businesses can do more to support autistic people. Fiona says, “I managed to get an autism friendly swimming session every week and the library now has autism friendly Saturday’s.”

Fiona’s hard work doesn’t end there! We spoke to Fiona about just a few of her impressive achievements. Check them out below:

Scottish Parliament Commendation – Fiona was delighted to recently be congratulated by the Scottish Parliament for her advocacy work across the North East and Scotland. Audrey Nicoll MSP presented Fiona with the impressive award.

Outstanding Achievement Award from Aberdeenshire Club Sport SCIO – Nominated by her coach, Caroline at Netball Scotland, Caroline said, “Fiona’s real strength is supporting coaches and players in understanding autism.” Fiona was delighted to walk the stage to collect the award.

Community Learning SQA Award in Communications and Reading – When speaking about the motivation behind the impressive award Fiona says, “I already had the writing but wanted to do the reading.” The award provides learners with opportunities to acquire skills and promote confidence through independent thinking.

Curling Award – Working with Shared Lives and Curl Aberdeen, Fiona has been branching out into team activities and mastering her new curling skills on the ice. Fiona’s impressive skills, along with her good sportsmanship and team working are what led to the award.

When asked about what people can do to help advocate and be more inclusive Fiona has a lot to say, saying “Each person with autism is an individual. Treat them as individuals.” Fiona added “Be careful with terminology. To help, you can speak clearly, use pictures and visual guides, and introduce change slowly.”

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