Autism affects a person's relationship with others and the way in which they experience the world. Gardening has increasingly been recognised as a rewarding activity for those with autism and Nathan James Dodd has been discovering why this seems to be true.
For the 700,000 people in the UK who live with autism, the world is often overwhelming and full of anxiety. They struggle to communicate and interact socially and relate to people.
So it's no wonder that a calming and stress free garden is an attractive place where they can feel emotionally secure and where any potential can be realised, building confidence that can be replicated in other areas of their life.
In last year's television series 'The Autistic Gardener', all the people taking part benefited from the opportunities they were given, and the programme's inspiration was award winning designer Alan Gardner, whose focus on detail emanated from Asperger Syndrome which is on the Autism Spectrum.
Autism Friendly Gardens
This year Royal Horticultural Society Shows at Chelsea and Tatton Park will highlight methods that make parks and gardens autism friendly, calm and safe places that promote well being especially amongst children.
To create a calm atmosphere, designers recommend delicate scented flowers and pastel shades, perhaps soft grasses that move with the breeze. Everything in the garden, including plants should be non-toxic, although edible flowers, fruit and herbs are to be encouraged.
Initiate interest with varied planting and themes, bold colours can offer stimulation and providing structure is also be important. Calm areas with limited sensory distractions and safe hiding places are valuable as well as an area where children can run around to release energy.
Gardening with autism in mind can therefore be quite easy and low cost, for more information on the condition go to National Autistic Society and read our blog on the Autistic Gardener.
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