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Friday, 30 March, 2018

Chris Packham: People like me with ‘invisible disabilities’ can have a less anxious day out – homecare.co.uk News

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Wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham knows only too well the moments of anxiety that a day out somewhere new can bring to someone with an “invisible” disability like autism.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, he finds social situations challenging. That is why he is championing the new ‘2018 Rough Guide to Accessible Britain’ – which for the first time includes autism-friendly attractions among the venues approved by people with disabilities.

“From personal experience, I know that many people face particular barriers to enjoying a day out”, says Chris Packham, who has written a foreward to the guide.

‘Avoiding conflict’

One of over 700,000 people with autism in the UK, he has spoken about experiencing the world in a different way from others, with heightened senses that can be overwhelming, and a mind racing from one subject to the next.

“For me, sensory overload is a constant distraction and that’s one element of living with Asperger’s that impacts me when trying to plan a day out.

“Myself, for instance. When I’m planning a day out, I like to ensure that I’m going to avoid conflict of any kind. Any sort of conflict; parking, too busy in the restaurant, generates anxiety and of course if you’re anxious you can’t enjoy a great day out.”

The guide describes Britain’s most ‘inclusive’ venues for people – whatever their disability – including those with hidden conditions not easy to spot such as autism or mental illness.

He says: “All the work’s gone in to putting information there which is useful for people with cognitive conditions; those invisible disabilities.”

As well as details of ramps, accessible toilets and parking spaces, the guide lists whether a venue has ‘quiet mornings’ to let people avoid busy crowds, disability-friendly queuing arrangements, and quiet rooms for people to sit and relax in.

All reviews are written by someone with a disability or by a friend or family member who has visited the location with a disabled person. The TV presenter describes such thorough checks by reviewers as “implicitly important” as “it means we can trust these reviews completely”.

There are more than 180 reviews of venues in the guide, including 171 cafes and restaurants, 34 museums, 14 beaches or coastal attractions, four major sports venues and a skydiving attraction.

Paralympian left in tears when asked to prove disability

By removing the barriers preventing many people from taking day trips, Chris Packham says those with a physical, mental or cognitive condition can “critically know what to expect when you get there”.

Ignorance about someone’s disability is something many people face on a daily basis when they venture outdoors; even those who are famous for their achievements.

Recently a Paralympian sprinter, born with cerebral palsy, spoke out on Twitter about being left in tears when she was denied help by EasyJet staff on a flight and asked to prove her disability.

Read more at: https://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1594134/Chris-Packham-People-like-me-with-invisible-disabilities-can-get-a-less-anxious-day-out

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