We have chosen to support autism as our supported charity and asked David Downes, to kindly allow us to use a selection of his wonderful landscape portraits.

David Downes is a renowned artist with high-functioning autism and a committed supporter of The National Autistic Society. www.daviddownes.co.uk

We transform lives by being a trusted source of support and practical advice at important times throughout life. There are at least 700,000 autistic people in the UK, including children but also adults, plus their 3 million family members and carers. For all of them, we are a vital place to turn.

We challenge society’s perceptions by campaigning nationally and working with businesses and policy-makers to change laws and deliver services that work better for autistic people. By sharing our first-hand knowledge of the realities of being autistic, we help reduce isolation and open up opportunities in society as a whole.

Since 1962, we have worked on both fronts, because we know from experience that they are equally important.

Last year, we transformed lives by offering practical advice to millions through our extensive website and expert helpline, running seven specialist schools and over 70 services supporting adults. At the same time, we challenged perceptions of autism with our Too Much Information campaign, which reached over 56 million people, and trained over 11,000 teachers, health workers and other professionals to ensure autistic people get the same opportunities in life as everyone else.

We know there is much more to do, because the status quo isn’t good enough for autistic people and their families. With your support, we can do even more to transform lives, challenge perceptions and build a society that works for autistic people.

Until everyone understands.