Minister for London Sees Benefits of Autism Tech

Minister for London Sees Benefits of Autism Tech

The Minister for London, Gavin Barwell MP, saw for himself how technology can help people with autism gain skills for work and independent living on a visit to the Croydon hub of autism charity Autus.  As well as logging into Autus' 3DNovations learning environment with his very own avatar and trying his hand at a 'snakes and ladders'-style serious game used to teach employability skills, Mr Barwell spoke with some of Autus' learners, who explained how Autus had helped them learn IT skills, gain qualifications and find paid work. 

Donna Thompson, CEO of Autus, said: “We are delighted to have our service users introduce Gavin Barwell MP to the engaging virtual environments that are helping them grow their confidence and motivation while learning essential skills for work. Thanks to funding from LCF/Sport Relief, we are bringing young autistic people from Croydon and surrounding areas together to develop employability skills using our online 3D platform.  We hope to be able to replicate this successful project elsewhere so more young people can benefit.” 

Autus exists to help people with autism and complex needs become more independent and economically active through training and peer support.  The 3DNovations virtual training platform co-created by Autus and the social enterprise Hao2 to provide this support was recently shortlisted for the European Foundations Awards for Responsible Research and Innovation (EFARRI).  The European Foundations commended 3DNovations as a model of RRI because:

  • Beneficiaries of 3DNovations are involved at every stage. The platform is designed by people with autism for people with autism, to be accessible in any location and support a variety of communication preferences and learning speeds.  Participants can learn to adapt to any situation they may need or want to encounter by replicating it in this controlled environment, picking up useful IT skills along the way. 
  • The outcomes serve broader societal goals.  By generating sustainable employment-related outcomes far surpassing the Work Programme for people with autism, 3DNovations is helping to close the autism employment gap, improving people with autism's social inclusion, mental health and well-being[1] and saving the taxpayer money.  Society also benefits from a more diverse workforce: as a recent Harvard Business Review article[2] stated, more diverse teams at work perform better. 

For more information about how Autus helps young people with autism, please contact Donna Thompson at donna@autus.org.uk or Nicola Herbertson on 07983384213



[1]          Dockery, L. (2016). The effects of employment on the mental health and executive functions of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Goldsmiths, University of London, London

[2]    https://hbr.org/2016/09/diverse-teams-feel-less-comfortable-and-thats-why-they-perform-better