National Autistic Society

Hear from the charity behind the National Autistic Society Garden at RHS Chelsea 2024

National Autistic Society

Autism is a lifelong disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Our garden aims to be an empowering way to celebrate autistic people and to build understanding and acceptance of autism on a global stage.
The National Autistic Society aims to transform lives and change attitudes to help create a society that works for autistic people. The RHS Chelsea garden explores ‘masking’ which describes how autistic people consciously or unconsciously hide their autistic characteristics, in order to fit in and feel more accepted. This spotlight will enable us to build understanding of autism and masking within the wider public, but also reach out to and open conversations among our audience, which includes autistic people, families, celebrities, political figures, corporate partners and professionals in the education, health and social care sectors.

See the National Autistic Society Garden

Our audience is very active and passionate about our cause, and we believe this opportunity will enable us to share our charity’s mission and further develop understanding of autism.

Autism in the UK

More than one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. Latest figures (June 2023) show that over 143,000 people in England alone are waiting for an autism assessment.

Masking is one reason why autism diagnoses are sometimes missed in children, especially girls. Autistic people describe this extra neural load as exhausting, and it can lead to a meltdown or shutdown – when they feel overwhelmed or when they need to stop interacting with the world around.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.