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Want to know what it's like to have autism? Try Care Show's 'reality' experience

Article By: Angeline Albert

‘Scary’, ‘irritating’, ‘confusing’ and ‘emotional’ are some of the words being bandied about to describe how some have felt after walking into an autism reality experience which will be at the Care Show 2017.

Virtual dementia Tour on show at Care Show 2017  Credit: Training 2 Care UK

Care staff, health professionals, academics are among the members of the public expected to get a snapshot of an autistic person’s life, and hear talks, network and learn something new at the event on 10-11 October at the NEC Birmingham.

Essex firm Training 2 Care UK will be present at the show to disorientate and unnerve the public with loud noises, flashing lights, heightened smells and strange textures crowded into a confined space.

Mum believes experience can meet her call for more ‘empathy’

With a son, diagnosed with autism when he was four-years-old, Chelsey Cookson who works for Training 2 Care UK, says she is keen for everyone to know more about the sensory struggles he battles with every day.

Welcoming the autism reality experience's ability to simulate a person's place on the autism spectrum, she says: “It’s specifically designed and geared up to give somebody an idea of what it’s like when somebody has too much sensory stimuli. It can make it quite difficult for him to manage day-to-day things. He turns the socks inside out because the seams are distressing him.

“I’m much more patient and much better at preparing him for environments where I think there could be some triggers for him feeling quite anxious and distressed.”

Real-life scenarios

The Care Show’s organisers have also got together with NHS England to create a Integrated Care Zone. This will see speakers from across the NHS demonstrating first-hand how effective the collaboration between health and social care providers can be, in a series of talks focussed on real-life scenarios.

Care Show brand director, Rebecca Pearce said: “This new partnership will provide free access to high-quality learning for care professionals at a time when the sector is dealing with ever tightening training and CPD budgets.

"By condensing opportunities to learn, network and explore the latest market innovations over just two days in one location, Care Show is an efficient way to stay up-to-date and further improve the lives of those living in the care system”.

How to deal with challenging behaviour and other talks

And with the highly quoted fact from the Alzheimer’s Society that 225,000 people will develop dementia this year - one person every three minutes – the public can also attend the Dementia in Care theatre, chaired by Professor June Andrews.

A trained nurse and lively public speaker whose independent consultancy advises on social care for frail older adults, in particular those with dementia, Professor Andrews is keen to change dementia care for the better internationally, having worked in many countries around the world. Topics in the Dementia in Care theatre include how to deal with challenging behaviour and different ways care homes should prepare for dealing with a more needs-based audience.

Care staff, managers, directors and owners can also get a taste of what it is like to live with dementia by taking The Virtual Dementia Tour- another experience conjured up by Training 2 Care.

For the first time, Care Show unveils Care Connect - a one-to-one meeting service, where attendees and exhibitors can arrange meetings online beforehand and meet in the Care Connect Meeting Lounge at the venue, where hosts will be available to help meetings run. As well as talks and virtual experiences, the public also have the chance to check out care products from 250 suppliers selling everything from furniture to business services.

To attend Care Show 2017 visit:

You can keep also up-to-date by following Care Show 2017 on Twitter @CareShow #CareShow or connect on and LinkedIn’s ‘Care Show discussion space’.


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