OUTSIDE the Box got creative to celebrate and raise awareness for the recent World Autism Acceptance Week.

From colourful ‘funfetti’ cakes in the community café to themed artwork and music created by people with learning disabilities and/or autism, it was a full week.

World Autism Acceptance Week is an annual global event that aims to teach people about autism with the hope that many more people will not just be aware of autism but also more accepting of the condition so helping to make the world a friendlier place for those affected by autism. The theme for this year was colour and Outside the Box celebrated this in many different ways.

“There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK alone," said Emma Rogerson, services manager at Outside the Box. "Everyone on the spectrum may have very different needs and encounter varied obstacles to taking part in everyday life. We firmly believe that with the right support all people with autism can learn, develop and have fulfilling lives and our work helps to achieve this.”

The Outside the Box Art Group kicked off the week by creating lots of unique handprints using different artistic forms including fabrics, paper and even a printer/scanner. The group also enjoyed filming a short video for the OTB TikTok channel showcasing their creativity.

The talented OTB Music Group learned and performed the beautiful ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ song made famous by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. This song was chosen as the range of rainbow colours represent the scope of abilities and diagnoses on the Autism spectrum, the perfect song to illuminate the week. The ever-impressive OTB Print Group continued the colour theme by experimenting with different forms of patterns and materials to create the singular letters that spell out autism. These were all fantastic ways to demonstrate the individualism of the autistic spectrum and raise the awareness of the many different experiences and needs of people affected by it.

Mason Parker, one of the members at Outside the Box said: “The week was fun and very colourful, I made hand prints in print group and we made a video.”

When asked about why it is important to raise awareness about autism Mason said: “It’s good and it makes me feel happy. I like coming to Outside the Box because it makes me feel good and I get to see my friends. It’s lots of fun!”

Amy Day, Marketing and Communications Officer at the local charity, said: “We have very much embraced the week including by showcasing creativity and individuality through our social media channels, especially our new TikTok Channel. From our Footloose-inspired video for World Down Syndrome Day to our Autism Acceptance Week video, it has been great to be able to further highlight and appreciate our members’ talents, abilities and voices.”