A boy from Halifax is the face of a new film to raise awareness of the way children with autism see the world.
The clip, by the National Autistic Society, stars Alex Marshall and was filmed in a way that shows a child experiencing “too much information” in a shopping centre.
Alex’s parents, Ben and Kathryn Marshall, joined Halifax MP Holly Lynch in Parliament to kick off a new autism campaign with the film, which concludes with the words “I’m not naughty – I’m autistic”, at the centre.
Mrs Marshall said: “When Alex was filming, we were watching him from the balcony and there was a woman who gave this look, a little glance.
“Everybody watching with us said, ‘that’s the look!’.
“We all knew it. It was that split second of contempt which says, ‘why can’t you control your child?’.
“That’s why we’re so thrilled to be involved in the Too Much Information campaign and get the chance to help people realise how big a difference they can make to families like ours, by simply showing a little understanding rather than throwing us a judgmental look.”
In 2015, a YouGov poll found that more than 99.5 per cent of people in the UK had heard of autism.
But just 16 per cent of autistic people and their families said that the public had a meaningful understanding of autism. This suggested that while many people had heard of the word autism, very few understood what it meant to be autistic.
Ms Lynch, who has backed the campaign, said: “It’s great that the Marshall family have come to Parliament to help improve public understanding of autism and it was lovely to see Alex taking the lead, speaking to MPs from across the country. The National Autistic Society’s film gives a real insight into how people on the autistic spectrum experience the world.
“A basic understanding of autism could help open up the world for autistic people and their families in our community and across the UK.”