On Wednesday 25th May, we teamed with Search Laboratory to host our very first blogger event at the Lighthouse Union Store.

We invited 10 bloggers to attend our exclusive ‘Lighthouse Speed Friending’ event to learn more about the work we’re undertaking to help those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and learning difficulties to find meaningful employment. However, our event also had a bit of a twist.

The bloggers took part in a social experiment, wherein they wore masks of their own faces while conversing with each other. 93% of communication is non-verbal, though many people with ASD have difficulty communicating this way, whether it be their hand gestures, facial expressions, or making eye contact with who they are speaking to.

Lighthouse Blogger Event 2

With their masks on, our bloggers got the chance to see how difficult it is to both communicate and understand others without being able to read non-verbal communication cues.

“We didn’t know what to expect from the event so we were a bit nervous. We had heard about the speed friending and I’m quite a confident person, but put into new situations I’m a bit unsure. I thought it was a really good way to try to get into the shoes of other people.” Hannah G.

Our bloggers rotated so that each had three minutes to chat with one another, and after every conversation, they were asked to quickly mark down how they felt.

“I have a brother who has autism and he’s at a mainstream school. Obviously I know him as a really kind, nice boy but he just can’t get across his feelings properly. So it is an issue, [Lighthouse is] a good cause and we’re happy to be involved.” Gabby.

Lighthouse Blogger Event 3

Everyone who attended was also entered into a raffle to win some wonderful prizes, and each received a gift bag full of goodies from local businesses.

We’d like to thank the following companies for their contributions to the event: Bakery 164, Barbara Mann Dance Academy, Bloom Bakers, Dogburgs, Evolution, Gravity UK, Jameson’s Café & Tea Rooms and Rollette Café. You can watch a recap of our event and meet our bloggers in the video below!

We loved hosting our bloggers for the event, showing them some of the difficulties that those with ASD cope with on a daily basis, as well as everything Lighthouse School does to help its pupils gain meaningful skills for life.