Video maps making a difference for people with autism

Last updated: 19 April 2017

An innovative online interactive map of three leisure facilities in Wigan Borough will encourage more people with autism to get active.

The new videos will help to tap into the growing market for autistic friendly services like quiet shopping which many stores have brought in to reduce the sensory overload people with autism can experience in public places.

Anyone visiting Wigan Life Centre, Leigh Sports Village and Howe Bridge Sports Centre will be able to take a virtual tour of the facilities before they visit to give families and carers a better understanding of the space.

By being able to fully map out a place beforehand and hear the noises someone would expect it gives an idea of what to expect in each venue. This helps prepare people with autism on what to expect when they visit for the first time.

The iRoam interactive map fits in with The Deal for Health and Wellness by encouraging everyone to engage with healthy activities and enriching people’s lives, regardless of any barrier. It also adds to the digital strategy for the borough #DigitalWigan by using technology to make a difference.

The iRoam programme has been designed by Access Social, a Leigh based technology company, which has been backed by Wigan Council. It offers video walkthroughs of locations along with the real kind of noises that people can expect to hear.

Anthony Curran and Adam Barrett, directors at Access Social, have more than 20 years of experience in the education and care sectors.

They said: "Our aim was to create innovative digital products to make the world an easier place to live in. We hope iRoam takes us one tiny step along the way to achieving that goal."

Councillor Keith Cunliffe, portfolio holder for adult social care and health, said: "We are always looking for innovative ways of encouraging people to look after their health through things like exercising. We know that for some the barrier to this can be very easily unlocked through modern technology such as these video maps and we hope that it makes a difference and encourages more people to try our leisure centres."

To take a virtual tour of the leisure centres go to: