The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has become only the second building in Edinburgh to achieve an Autism Friendly Award. The award was made to the venue during last week’s (16-18 September) 11th Autism-Europe International Congress, organised by The National Autistic Society, when over 1,600 people traveled to Scotland from across the globe to hear more than 300 speakers share advances in autism knowledge with researchers, professionals and autistic people and their families.
The EICC team made changes to increase its accessibility and provided awareness sessions for staff in the months leading up to the Congress. The only other Edinburgh building to receive the award came when the Scottish Parliament achieved the accolade in May 2015. Staff across the EICC received autism training and ‘autism champions’ were identified to offer extra assistance.
Mark Lever, chief executive of The National Autistic Society, said: “The XI Autism-Europe International Congress is the biggest event of its kind, bringing together experts from all over the world to share the latest thinking and best practice about autism.
“I am pleased that I am able to present our Autism Friendly Award to The Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The venue has taken significant steps in a short space of time to ensure that autistic visitors feel safe, happy and understood. That will make a huge difference not only at this event, but at all events it hosts in the future.”
EICC Chief Executive, Marshall Dallas, said: “Ahead of this important congress, the whole EICC team underwent autism awareness training and our facilities were fully audited to ensure that we are providing an environment which is as accessible as possible. It’s a standard that we will carry on in future events - overall we want to make the EICC one of the most accessible conference centres anywhere in the world. We are immensely proud to have become one of the first organisations in the country to achieve an Autism Friendly Award as a result of these efforts.”