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The National Autistic Society

Article - Jan 2024 AutismWith its roots dating back over 60 years to 1962, the National Autistic Society (NAS) is today the UK's leading charity for people with autism and their families

Providing authoritative advice, guidance and support with a mission to 'transform lives and change attitudes to help create a society that works for autistic people', the charity also campaigns tirelessly to improve opportunities, rights and services across the board.

In this edition of the Medigarments blog, we look at some of the key dates and events that have shaped the NAS.

The Autism Act (2009)
  • 1962. A small group of parents of autistic children created a support group, which would eventually become the NAS. In these early days, autistic children were routinely diagnosed with 'childhood schizophrenia' and often insti­tuti­ona­lised.­ 
  • 1965. The group approached Sybil Edgar, a trainee Montessori teacher, to set up a school, which became the world's first school specifically created for children with autism (Montessori is an education method that, instead of employing traditional teaching methods, focuses on the child's natural activities and interests). John Lennon donated £1,000 (almost £25k today), to aid in the setting up of the new school.
  • 1967. Now receiving constant calls from other parents of autistic children, the group created a magazine called 'Communication' and sent out the first issue. Now named 'Your Autism', the magazine has a readership of more than 22,000 people and is a previous winner of the Charity Magazine of the Year award. 
  • 1979. Dr Lorna Wing, one of the original founders of the group, coined the term 'autistic spectrum'. 
  • 1991. Dr Wing opened the new Centre for Social & Communication Disorders in London. The centre was the country's very first diagnostic clinic specialising in autism. The clinic, today recognised as a global leader in diagnostic practice, has been renamed the Lorna Wing Centre in her honour.
Shop Sign showing sensory specific autism hours
A shop sign listing 'Autism Hours'
  • 1992. The NAS set up the only autism-specific quality assurance programme in the UK, known as the 'Autism Accreditation Scheme'. Accreditation has been awarded to more than 2,500 services and organisations who provide the best support to people with autism. These services and organisations included educational establishments, hospitals, prisons and more. 
  • 2009. An NAS campaign leads to the introduction of the Autism Act into English law. The act states that 'there has to be a government strategy for improving services for autistic adults, underpinned by legally binding guidance to councils in England'. Similar strategies are soon enacted in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. 
  • 2017. The Autism Hour campaign is launched by the NAS, encouraging businesses to introduce autism-friendly shopping hours. Just two years later, more than 14,000 businesses have adopted the practice. 
  • 2020. The new NAS website is launched and attracts 4.5 million views in the first year.
  • 2021. The NAS successfully persuaded the UK government to revise the Mental Health Act so that the term 'mental disorder' no longer includes autism.
  • 2022. The 60th anniversary of the NAS is celebrated.  
Sensory Hug® Maxi in Mermaid, showing the back detail Sensory Hug® Maxi in Mermaid
The Sensory Hug® Maxi in our popular Mermaid design

The Sensory Hug® from Medigarments Ltd has been specifically designed and developed to help individuals with the sensory processing difficulties experienced with autism. By providing continuous, consistent dynamic compression along with proprioceptive and sensory feedback, the garments have been proven through clinical evidence to reduce over-activity and distracting behaviour patterns.

Medigarments Ltd are extremely proud of the Sensory Hug® and the many benefits it provides to autistic people, helping them to live better, more fulfilling lives. Find out more about the Sensory Hug®, which is available in Mini and Maxi formats, on our website, or if you don't want to miss any of our future articles, then please subscribe to our free email newsletter. Please reach out to our expert team if you need advice on the Sensory Hug®, our renowned SDO® range or any of our British designed and manufactured products. For more information and special features, please like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

The Sensory Hug® is part of The World of SDO® Sensory Dynamic Orthosis range of dynamic LYCRA® compression garments by Medigarments Ltd. Sensory Hug® and SDO® are the registered trademarks of Medigarments Ltd. 

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