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WAAD and what the event means to me

 

Every year at Bradford City Football Stadium, Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource also known as AWARE holds World Autism Acceptance day casually known as WAAD. This is an event where many different organisations who work in Neurodiversity come together in one big room to advertise their services. They provide a couple of break rooms with sensory items to accommodate any guests, young people or staff with additional needs and give out plenty of freebies and leaflets to promote themselves. Most of the freebies are sensory toys so that makes me pretty acknowledged.




 

This report will highlight what I enjoy specifically about the event and what I’ve been doing there the last 3 years running. Normally, I spend the majority of my time at these events doing the official photography which was and still is one of my many passions. On the first year, I didn’t work for Allstar and hadn’t even heard of them though I did inadvertently snap a shot of their stall for the publicity I’d been commissioned by AWARE for, who I’d been volunteering for prior. I used to be a young person who accessed their services like their Friday night youth club so I was close with some of their Staff members.




I find the entire event bursting with opportunities for a neurodivergent person like myself to discover support systems and network. The environment is busy but as I wrote above, they have other quieter areas that can be used for a bit of respite from all the sensory overload. I appreciate that these spaces can be accessed by anyone with any disability, background, sexuality or culture. This day is repeated year after year and I feel that it really brings about a lot of change. The changes may be small but as it says in the title, It’s slowly building acceptance and pushing our struggles out onto the surface to be seen and supported.

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