Train operator GWR has provided bespoke autism awareness for front line staff, allowing them to be better prepared to help people living with the condition use public transport.
Looking to provide the best possible experience for all passengers, GWR has worked with autism charity Anna Kennedy Online and Options Autism Ambassador to raising autism awareness to help its staff better meet the needs of those travelling with autism.
Watch Austin discuss the challenges of travelling with autism here:
For those with the condition, some of the more commonly experienced issues are the presentation of anxiety and processing information as well as the need for structure and reassurance.
Anna Kennedy OBE, Director and founder of the charity said
“Anna Kennedy Online Autism Charity are proud to be able to help raise autism awareness to GWR staff. As a parent of two young men travelling by train this has always been a difficult experience due to my youngest son who has significant sensory issues.
“Whistles blowing, crowded and noisy stations, doors banging can be a bit full-on and cause him anxiety. By sharing information with all staff this will hopefully help create a less stressful journey.”
There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with Autism – that’s more than 1 in every 100 people. The autism awareness programme was written by Austin Hughes Senior Practitioner of the charity, who lives with autism. Both Anna Kennedy and Austin Hughes were filmed talking about their experiences.
GWR is committed to making rail accessible to all, and disability awareness forms part of that commitment. This awareness programme is improving the way GWR delivers customer service, emphasising the need for a tailored and personalised service for all customers, that meets their individual needs and wants.
Pete Dempsey, Operations Management Trainer at GWR, who helped deliver the awareness said:
“At GWR we strive to ensure all of our customers receive a great experience and part of delivering that aspiration is recognising that passengers have a wide variety of different needs, and different disabilities.
“While all our staff are highly trained, we have not previously included the special requirements those living with autism may have, so we developed an additional awareness package for our 3,500 front lines staff.”
Anna Kennedy OBE