Swansea University Medical School hosts Festival of Autism

Swansea University Medical School is hosting a Festival of Autism throughout April as part of Autism Awareness Month.

Hazel LimThe festival is being run by Hazel Lim, a multilingual Autism specialist and artist who is a graduate of the MSc in Autism and Related Conditions at Swansea University, and Dr Gareth Noble, Associate Professor in Autism at Swansea University Medical School.

Hazel (pictured) said: “There are two main aims for this festival. The first is to celebrate the achievement of autistic individuals, focusing on the positive aspects of what they can do, as opposed to what they can’t. But the main aim of hosting the festival is to get the conversation started and hopefully give people a better understanding of Autism.”

Throughout April there will be exhibitions at the Swansea University Singleton Campus and an outreach project in libraries across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot which will designate a special corner for Autism books and films. 

Between 30 March – 4 April on the Swansea University Singleton Campus, there will be information stands and a ‘Zumbathon’ to raise awareness and fundraising for the local newly established Chinese Autism Support Group and the play and leisure opportunity library based in Swansea.

The festival will culminate with a day’s celebration centred around Digital Technium and the Taliesin at the Singleton Campus, which will involve a celebration street festival and Autism information fair in the morning. The afternoon conference will feature presentations from several autistic speakers. The aim is to raise understand of autism and to encourage people from all walks of life to come along to find out more about Autism.

Dr Gareth Noble said: “The festival is linked to the work we’ve been doing within the Medical School, to support Autism, and our aim with the festival, led brilliantly by Hazel Lim, was to mark Autism Awareness Month. 

The primary aim with the festival is to create a space for people to come together, to talk and to share their experiences. By doing so, we are reaching out to a wider audience, providing an opportunity to do what our University is meant to do: educate, as well as empower people.  Autism can be a creative, innovative and positive experience.  It is an expression of individuality and we should encourage that expression.”

Hazel said: “Autism is a life-long condition. It is important that people accept everyone is different and that it is ok to be different, whether you are autistic or not. With a better understanding, we can change our perceptions, and accept that everyone is unique. This will positively change the world for Autistic individuals. Although it will take time, it has to start somewhere, and with someone, to help Autistic people with the challenges that face them, and help us all create a better place to live.”

Full further details about the Festival including booking information can be found here.