James and Mark's perspective

Taheera Khan

Date: 03/04/23

In this follow-up animation, co-produced with James and his dad, we gain a greater insight into his experience at a café as an autistic adult with limited verbal capacity.

They take us on their family trip to James’ favourite café, a place that he really enjoys visiting, but this experience is sometimes spoiled because of judgement from onlookers.

As they step into the café, people push past them in the queue to try and get a seat before them – upsetting both James and his family.

This is only worsened by people’s lack of understanding about autism, which translates into judgemental comments and stares in this scenario.

It makes the situation very difficult for James and his family, but thankfully, with the help of an autism ally, this turns around.

Noticing their distress, another customer in the café offers up their table. While some may consider it to be a small gesture, it makes a world of difference to James. Instead of passing judgement like many other customers, she goes out of her way to help them out.

While they are queuing for James’ favourite snacks, people continue to look, stare and make unnecessary comments when James makes a few sounds, is excitable and stimming.

Thankfully, the staff are always supportive. They love seeing James, always coming over to welcome him, and he loves seeing them too. Greeting him with a kind wave, they go that extra mile to make sure he feels comfortable, included and happy.

The staff are kind and thoughtful which makes a huge difference for their family. Because of these considerate autism allies, James loves going to the café and has a great time.

His joy is a testament to their kindness. The judgement from onlookers can make it an isolating and uncomfortable experience, but this is often overcome by the supportive and understanding environment nurtured by the staff. James and his family appreciate their gentle efforts, which has had such a positive impact on James.

The presence of autism allies means the world to them – through these small gestures, they promote understanding, inclusion and acceptance.

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