Swansea City are celebrating World Autism Awareness Day by launching new matchday guides specifically for autistic supporters.
Whilst the Swans aim to put on an exciting display for all fans on a matchday, a Liberty Stadium experience can present its challenges for some supporters due to loud noises, bright lights and crowds.
Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
These new guides aim to help overcome some of the barriers that hinder autistic supporters from enjoying a matchday experience in SA1.
The new support resources come in the form of a downloadable Picture Story Guide, as well as an ASD Parent or Carer Guide, which includes practical advice on sensory triggers, peak times and further information on the club’s facilities.
The guides are a direct result of the club’s work in partnership with autism charity Stepping Stones, as well as following consultation with Swans supporters and volunteer group Step Together Swansea.
Sarah Bickerstaff, of Step Together Swansea, emphasised the importance of picture stories for Autistic supporters.
“Pictures and symbols are integral for children with communication difficulties,” she said. “They are universally understood and if used correctly they can be a useful way of communicating.
“Evidenced based research informs us that autistic children learn best through visual supports.
“I am so proud to have been part of this with Swansea and hope that it goes from strength-to-strength.”
Meanwhile, Swansea City Disability Access Officer Mark Phillips added: “The guides are a big step forward in promoting and assisting supporters with autism.
“The guides are not only a celebration of autism but of the diversity and individuality of the Jack Army.
“This is the first step in our ongoing commitment to improve facilities and awareness of our disabled supporters.”