A mother from Burghfield will be hosting Reading's first Autistic Pride picnic on Sunday.
Being autistic herself, and having two children with the condition as well, Rachel Cotton is aware of the down sides to being autistic, but she wanted to create an event that gave adults and children alike somewhere to express all that can be positive about autism.
After discussing the idea with a friend, Mrs Cotton decided it was time for Reading to hold an event that celebrated autism.
The 44-year-old said: “I hadn’t come across these events in Reading before, so presenting it as a positive to autism and being autistic especially when attitudes towards disabled people are becoming more negative, and I wanted to show us in a positive light.”
And she wants the event to reach out to prospective employers in order to demonstrate how, with some adjustment, people with autism can be integrated into the work place. Mrs Cotton said that with only 50 per cent of autistic people being employed, this could be vastly improved with better awareness.
The Autistic Pride picnic will feature circus skills from Oojamaflip, free train rides on a miniature railway, poetry and art work, two quiet areas one with sensory toys, and space in the for autistic adults to discuss and share their experiences.
There will also be a special talk from Olley Edwards, an autistic director and film maker who has recently received an award of excellence at the disability film in San Francisco.
Organisers advise that anyone who is affected by loud noises or busy crowds, should come later on in the afternoon, and bring ear defenders if necessary.
The mayor of Reading, Sarah Hacker, will open the event, which will be held in Prospect Park from 2pm until 5pm on June 14.