Autistic people can get overloaded by everything around them. It’s like all the senses are firing, all at once. Like there’s no filter. Like they’re getting too much information.

Over 99% of people have heard of autism, but only 16% of autistic people feel the public understand them. That’s why we created Too Much Information. It’s time we challenged the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that mean that 79% of autistic people feel socially isolated. It’s time we help the public to understand autism, the person, and the change they can make.

With that in mind, we created our first film, featuring 11-year-old Alex Marshall, to help launch our campaign. Our first film went viral – over 56 million people viewed it on social media, with over one million also sharing it. Our partnership with The Guardian saw over 400,000 visits and a 26% rise in autism awareness. Over 17,000 people put their mark on our Too Much Information map to show they care about autism. 8,000 people in intu shopping centres across the United Kingdom tried our virtual reality film.

After looking at how autistic people can get too much information in public places, we then moved our focus to getting too much information in the workplace. Only 16% of autistic people are in full-time employment. We talked to autistic people and found out they felt that employers don’t see their ability, but rather their autism. We wanted to work with them, their colleagues, employers and the Government to get autistic people the jobs they deserve. Over 29,000 people signed our petition to close the autism employment gap, which we presented to Penny Mordaunt MP, the Minister for Disabilities, at Westminster in March 2017. We continue to lobby behind the scenes to help autistic people to get the jobs they deserve.

For the second year of our campaign, we want people to understand that autistic people need extra time to process information. Sometimes, it can feel like everything’s building up. Like your brain is too crowded – and about to explode. And that makes the world a terrifying, isolating place. But it doesn’t have to be like this. One small change from you could help to reduce the overload.

So, whether you’re at the shops, on public transport, at work or out with friends, a change as simple as using clear language, having a bit of patience, or avoiding last minute changes can really help. Throughout the campaign’s second year, we’ll continue to encourage everyone to understand autism, the person, and the change you can make.

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