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Autism awareness: How major brands are diversifying to celebrate and support adults and kids with neurodiverse conditions

Written by

Amy Salter

Published on

May 15, 2023
Time to read: 2 minutes

A wide range of brands have recently launched new products in partnership with leading autism charities. The products celebrate and support children and adults with neurodiverse conditions such as autism. Following Autism Acceptance Week 2023, Hook decided to look at how an increasing number of brands are diversifying to show autism awareness 

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. More than one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK (National Autistic Society, 2023). Everyday life can be challenging for an adult or child with autism, so how are brands diversifying to support them? 

Interior decor brand Hovia have recently partnered with autism experts, the National Autistic Society to create a new range of wallpaper for people with hypersensitivities. As wallpaper usually covers a large part of a room, its impact on someone’s sensory experience can be significant. Hovia have multiple designs that include a range of muted tones and irregular images whilst still maintaining a contemporary, artistic style. These designs are intended to reduce visual stimulation and aim to reduce hypersensitivity amongst people with autism.  “Responses to colours are subjective, and no two people experience the world in the same way. For these murals, we used shades and designs that we understand many people dealing with hypersensitivity will appreciate, but we know they may not be colours that all autistic people will enjoy.”  Catherine Jacob, Head of Design at Hovia In March, the global brand Vanish launched a new campaign to break down myths and broaden public understanding of Autism. They recognise that 73% of autistic people use clothes to help regulate their senses and 75% of people find that keeping the look, smell and feel of clothes the same is important. Their campaign focuses primarily on girls as they are three times less likely to receive an autism diagnosis than boys. Giving a voice to girls with autism, Vanish tells their stories through clothes, highlighting that hypersensitivities affects all genders.  

https://youtu.be/4Xtog_zRRJgSensory toys are specifically designed to stimulate neurodiverse children, including those with Autism and ADHD. They can help a child to remain calm, regulate their sensory needs and increase their focus. Haico, a Salford based stationary brand, have launched a new range called Mindful.

This stationary, that became available from April, is in Primark stores across the country and has been specifically developed for people with autism. The range combines toys, sensory play and arts and crafts into one product such as pens, notepads and pencil cases.  

Conversations around autism are growing and it is clear that many brands are beginning to recognise the importance of the neurodiverse community.

“Awareness is knowing that autistic people exist. Acceptance is including and supporting autistic people within communities; creating better understanding and connections between us all.”

 Gaby Richardson, National Autistic Society


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