AN INNOVATIVE state-of-the-art autism centre was launched recently by Bearsden man Jordan Kirkwood and Lord Provost of Glasgow Sadi Docherty.
Jordan (21), who has Aspergers syndrome, is hoping to use the new £20,000 centre which has been described as a real breakthrough for people suffering from autism and related conditions.
The National Autism Society Centre, as it is called, will employs cutting edge technology, including a multi-sensory suite, with expert staff on hand to help adults with a range of condition to develop vital social and independent living skills, such as cooking, communication and IT, managing money, using public transport, and accessing employment and education opportunities.
Jordon said: “I think NASCentral is a great idea. I want to keep building my confidence and my skills, and it’s brilliant that I can walk out of NASCentral, into the centre of Glasgow and start putting what I’m learning into practice straight away.
“I think a lot of people with autism want to be out and about more. But they can be nervous of the reaction they might get from the public. Many people don’t know what autism is and can think you’re behaving a bit oddly. Sometimes you can get looks and comments, when really you’re just doing your best to understand what’s going on around you.”
Lord Provost Docherty added: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of NASCentral, and feel privileged to meet local young people like Jordon, who have so much talent, determination and potential. NASCentral is an important step forward in recognising some of the challenges and uniqueness experienced by adults who have autism in Glasgow and offering the best possible support.”
An estimated 50,000 people in Scotland have autism, with more than 130 thought to live in Milngavie and Bearsden. Autism is known as the ‘invisible disability’, because those with the condition can appear to be outwardly functioning well, while often experiencing severe challenges in communication and social situations. Many people with autism can experience isolation and loneliness, and struggle to understand the world around them.