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Speak Out Essex celebrates Autism Acceptance Month

25 April 2024

Speak Out Essex, a voice for autistic people run in conjunction with Essex County Council and the Essex All-Age Autism Partnership Board, took the opportunity to get together and celebrate Autism Acceptance Month

Speak Out Essex has been holding focus groups around Essex where autistic people, carers, family members, service representatives and supporting organisations meet regularly to try to identify how services can be improved for autistic people.

As April is Autism Acceptance Month, the group took the opportunity to pause and celebrate differences. The celebration event was small but a positive environment where people felt able to talk and share openly.

Some of the attendees and organisers at the Speak Out Essex Autism Acceptance Month celebration

When the group gets together, it normally focuses on how to improve services. This time, members were asked what they would like people to know about autistic people. Here are some of the responses:

The Speak Out team was blown away by everyone who shared their experiences so openly and passionately.

Connections Team Leader Melanie Ditmore said: I could have cried ─ it was such a beautiful meeting, and there was so much positivity in the room. It was like a virtual hug ─ I got a lot from it.

People that have been involved are loving it. They feel safe and share the most personal information, and it is all received with love, compassion and understanding. It is such a positive project. The open discussions about how people feel and the safe space that has been created have made me feel incredibly proud of our team and the people who join us.”

Sage, an attendee, shared that:

It was really nice to chat to other autistic people and hear that we have faced similar challenges and to share our experiences as it felt validating.

Evanthe, another attendee added: It was great that autism is being spoken about and discussed as it helps to reduce the stigma.”

We hope you all had the opportunity to reflect during Autism Acceptance Month.

If you are in Essex and would like to join our group to discuss improvements to services for autistic people in the area, please reach out to