We aim to be recognised as the UK’s first Autism friendly hotel. To become Autism friendly we need to comply with 5 points from the National Autistic Society. These are:
• 1 CUSTOMER INFORMATION
We shall be providing appropriate and timely information about Earlston House to potential customers. But at Earlston we aim to go further than providing information. We aim to enter into a dialogue with customers well in advance of the stay at Earlston, so that there can be absolute certainty that Earlston House shall provide exactly the right environment for a relaxing holiday.
• 2 STAFF AWARENESS
We must develop an appropriate understanding of autism to support autistic customers and their families. The hotel owners, Mij and Aidan Nattrass were teachers in mainstream education for 20 years. They have a working knowledge of how autism may present in a classroom and recreation yard. However they understand that the spectrum covers a much greater range than they are experienced with and continues after the age of 18.
When you contact us with a view to booking a stay, we shall enter into the dialogue then to ensure that all people are fully aware of any issues that may present themselves. Then we can work towards controlling the environment in order to make your holiday a relaxing one.
• 3 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
We need to make appropriate adjustments to our hotel. At this point and in the foreseeable future, Earlston House Hotel is not wheelchair friendly. What we believe makes us Autism friendly is:
Our colour schemes make use of pastel shades;
Our hotel is situated in a very quiet part of Paignton: Roudham is a rocky outcrop, so people only come here who are staying here. Paignton sea front and Goodrington sea front are both busy, whereas Roundham has a small beach called Fairy Cove that is usually very quiet. Roundham also has a beautiful cliff top park with trees for shelter and wide open spaces for play.
• 4 CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, FEEDBACK AND CONSULTATION
Before we can be recognised as Autism friendly, the National Autistic Society must be confident that customers who are on the spectrum are happy with Earlston and consider it to be worthy of recommendation to others. This shall be done formally and informally. Informally from parents or customers as they see Mij and Aidan around the hotel; formally in a feedback email or letter after the holiday is over. We shall pass these on to the National Autistic Society so that they can decide whether to approve us as being Autism friendly.
• 5 PROMOTING UNDERSTANDING
We must promote better public understanding of autism. We shall do this by making a presentation at meetings of a group of local hotel owners, called the Bridge group and by inviting the local newspaper to do an article on the benefits of inclusivity and awareness for Torbay as a whole.