At the very heart of everything we do for #autismacceptance is autistic people.

And when it came to the events we had planned it was no different.

One such high profile event was our scheduled Great Minds Historic Walking Tour.

Led by Alexander Iles, the tour was set to explore Newcastle’s history, uncovering some of the neurodiverse minds and personalities that have contributed to making the North-east what it is today.

As part of what we had planned we created a map of the tour route, with extra special illustrations.

Created by the young people in our Autism Activists group, they depict some of the most well-known and best-loved landmarks in the city, which all feature on Alex’s Great Minds tour.

Due to coronavirus restrictions we have now made the walk available online as a virtual tour – and you can still download the map to accompany the tour as you watch from home.

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager for the North East Autism Society, runs the young people’s art group.

She said: “The Activists worked together to create their interpretations of our North-east landmarks. On the surface, this may look like a simple art activity but what it did was create a sense of validation and acceptance for our young people. 

“Taking part in an activity like this not only gives them a great sense of achievement it reinforces the message that their voice matters, their experiences count and they have a valuable role to play in society”

The teenagers in the group were helped by our ambassador, professional illustrator Jonathan Raiseborough.

Jonathan, being autistic himself, was the perfect person to help bring out their budding artistry but to also encourage them to take part.  

He added: “The Autism Activists have all done such an amazing job bringing the map to life with their art, they should be so proud! Their creativity just blew me away when working with them on this project, they’ve done brilliantly.”

Click here to download the map:Great Minds Virtual Tour Map

Click here to watch the tour: