North East Autism Society have worked in partnership with the Life Science Centre Newcastle for several years. The initial project consisted of creating a group of young autistic people who would help shape and develop the centre into a better place for autistic people and their families. The group named E=mc2 went on to promote not only physical changes to the centre but worked to achieve positive societal shift in values and attitudes.

Working with this small group enabled the partnership to consider further opportunities, made possible through funding from Children in Need and The Wellcome Trust. This funding enabled the development of a three-year project consisting of monthly science sessions, led by an autistic teacher from the centre. These sessions provide not only an opportunity to increase knowledge and skills in relation to science. They also offer the chance to reduce social isolation, increase confidence and connect with other autistic young people.

David Jones at the Life centre, who has lead on the project said: “We have developed a three way partnership comprising Life, NEAS, and representing the autistic community, the families from E=mc2. We listened too and learned from what the community were telling us which started with Life purchasing ear defenders to support autistic visitors. Building on this staff Autism Acceptance training has started to be rolled out; we were able to create Sensory Bag’s, a new Visual Story, and a Sensory Map, all of which supports Life’s new Sensory-friendly Sunday’s. Making the science-based films to support the autistic community just seemed like a natural next step. This partnership, which continues to evolve, has already made a big difference and I’m sure will make an even bigger difference in the future.”

Life centre and neas e-mc

During Covid all sessions had to be ceased but the partnership believed that it was vital to continue to support the community and therefore looked at new ways to do so. This resulted in a collaboration of online science videos bringing quick, easily accessible ideas to both parents and young people. Initially the sessions were shared with the members of the science club, but it quickly became clear that many other families might benefit, so they were shared on the NEAS online family network, which has just under three thousand members.

The partnership have now developed eleven videos. You can find these videos at:

Our aim is to continue developing new content and creating new opportunities together for the autistic community.