My trip to the House of Lords

Helping Autistic children and their families with toilet hand dryers.

I was invited down to the official launch of the Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC) which was at the House of Lords.

The centre is being funded by Caudwell Children,  a charity set up by mobile phone entrepreneur John Caudwell. The building, which is now watertight and due to be completed in August, will be the UK’s first purpose-built centre for multi-disciplinary therapy programmes for childhood disability and research of neurodevelopmental conditions including autism. The total cost will be in the region of £18million pounds and is being constructed on the Keele University Campus.

It is estimated that 170,000 children in the UK have autism and that there are as many as 279million children worldwide with the condition. Yet only £4m a year is spent on autism research compared to £590m spent on cancer research and £169m spent on heart disease research even though autism costs the UK taxpayer £32billion per year (cancer costs the UK taxpayer £15b per annum).

So there is a real need to complete this research.  One of the areas that the new centre has struggled with is hand dryers. They have had a major dilemma: firstly whether to install hand dryers and secondly to find a dryer that would be beneficial in helping autistic children cope when taking part in family activities away from home.

As part of the development team for Puff the Magic Dryer, I have been involved in the needs of the centre and how we can support the children and staff in the key area of toilets and washrooms.

It is early days yet but let’s hope that centre can make a huge difference to not only children suffering with autism but also the families of those children.

I will keep you updated as the centre nears completion.