A new initiative has been launched that aims to address some of the challenges that autistic people face when they deal with banks and other financial institutions.
Scottish Autism, which seeks to help autistic people to lead full and enriched lives, has created a series of short animated videos highlighting some of the common experiences that come with a trip to the bank such as waiting in queues, speaking to different people and having to remember PIN codes. The videos, which can be freely accessed via www.scottishautism.org/banking, also include advice on how to keep money safe and guard against fraud and highlight how an individual can transact online or over the telephone with their bank.
The new initiative is being launched thanks, in part, to a £5,000 donation from the Clydesdale Bank Spirit of the Community Award, presented to Scottish Autism at a ceremony in 2015. Now in its fourth year, the awards programme aims to recognise charities and not-for-profit organisations for the invaluable contributions they make to their local communities. Groups were invited to enter the awards scheme under one of three categories; financial education, employability and environment.
Charlene Tait, director of autism practice and research at Scottish Autism, said: “This new initiative will further progress our work aimed at supporting the inclusion of people with autism in all aspects of daily life.
“Going into a bank can be a challenging and daunting experience for many people on the autism spectrum. Dealing with tasks which many of us carry out routinely such as having to wait in a queue, speaking to banking staff and giving individual details can be a complex and sometimes difficult experience for people with autism. Anything we can do to reduce the stress and anxiety people experience when they access community resources, makes for an increased quality of life for people living with autism.
“We are very grateful for the support from Clydesdale Bank’s Spirit of the Community Award. These funds have enabled us to develop this informative and easy to access online resource.”
At the launch of the new banking initiative was Debi Brown, an autism author, speaker and educator who has Asperger’s Syndrome. She said: “I like the videos, they explicitly give you information before you go into the branch that you would usually just be expected to pick up on the spot. That helps people with slow processing speeds. The videos are short, to the point and not overwhelming.”
Douglas Campbell, a trustee of Clydesdale Bank’s Charitable Foundation said: “The Spirit of the Community Awards support some of the most imaginative and innovative work that charities undertake in our communities. Scottish Autism has created a new resource that will benefit people living with autism, but also help each and every bank in the country to meet the needs of all of their customers. We are delighted to have been able to play a small part in its development.”