Cllr Mandy Garford, a labour parish councillor, and Stephen Oliver, a local artist, have teamed up to do something very special for autism awareness in April.

There is something exciting going on, right now, in Dartford!  Children on the autistic spectrum have been invited to create an expression of what autism means to them.  Or maybe just show their talent!  Painting, drawing, creating … some schools have set up special clubs to do the artwork!  Children are already involved, masterpieces are underway!

The Art of Autism PosterCllr Mandy Garford has three children of her own who are on the autistic spectrum and has worked with children on the spectrum as a primary school teacher.  Cllr Garford said “I would like to see a community that functions like a family, embracing all those within it.  Specifically, I would like to see Dartford becoming Autism Friendly.”

Stephen Oliver is a local artist who is involved in lots of community projects and is very keen to understand more about autism and raise the awareness of it.  Stephen Oliver said “The Art Exhibition is a great way to allow children on the autistic spectrum to express their feelings, raise awareness and allow them to feel part of the community.”

The Art Exhibition will be hosted at the Stephen Oliver Gallery in the Orchards Centre, Dartford, throughout April.  Members of the Dartford community have been invited to contribute what they think autism is to help with the display.  The event has sparked a lot of interest within the art world and autism world and a number of visitors are expected to visit Dartford over the month.

If your child is on the autistic spectrum, you may want to check that your school is involved.  All schools in the local area have been invited!  Don’t worry if your school doesn’t have the time … Artwork or creations can also be done at home.  For more information please contact Cllr Mandy Garford on, or Stephen Oliver on