Autism

Autism Champions 

Scottish Parliament Autism Champions have been trained to support people with autism . They promote Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) awareness throughout the parliamentary service. They are also a point of contact for Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and their staff seeking advice on visits to the Parliament by groups or individuals with ASC. If you are planning a visit and would like support please contact Visitor Services by calling 0800 092 7600 or emailing visit@scottish.parliament.uk

Quiet room

A waiting room provides a quiet space. If you need a quiet space during your visit, please speak to staff.

Rules of behaviour

As the Parliament is a working building, there are some rules of behaviour all visitors have to follow if they want to watch a committee meeting or a meeting in the Debating Chamber. 

Security checks at entrance

All visitors are required to proceed through security screening on entering the building. The Visiting The Scottish Parliament leaflet has further information about the security screening process. If you make the Parliament aware of your visit before you arrive or you have an autism card that you can present when you arrive, we will be able to provide you with assistance when going through security.

 

Sensory issues

Lighting

There are lots of windows in the building. Light levels vary, but there are some very bright lights in the committee rooms and the Debating Chamber.

Sounds

The Parliament building can be busy and noisy, especially on days when the Parliament is meeting. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays are usually quieter days, but this will depend on what exhibitions or events are being held. You can ask Visitor Services for advice on the best time for you to visit.

If you come on a day when the Parliament is meeting in the Debating Chamber, you may hear the division bell. This sounds 10 minutes and 5 minutes before Decision Time, which usually takes place at 5pm. It may also sound at other times if MSPs have to vote. Click on the link below to hear a recording.

Speaker symbolDivision Bell audio (115KB wav) 

If there’s an emergency when you’re at the Parliament such as a fire alert, you may hear an alert message or a message to evacuate the building.  Click on the links below to hear recordings of these messages.

Speaker symbolAlert and Evacuation audio for Public Foyer (2.1MB wav)

Speaker symbolAlert and Evacuation audio for Garden Lobby (3.4MB wav)

If you attend a meeting of the Parliament in the Debating Chamber, you may hear the Presiding Officer bang the gavel.

Speaker symbolGavel audio (861KB wav)

You may also hear other sounds during your visit. These include:

  • hand-driers in the toilets
  • trolleys (which may be carrying glasses or crockery)
  • videos and recordings of parliamentary business in the exhibition area

Smells

You might smell food and drink in various locations around the Parliament, including in the public café or near the coffee bar in the Garden Lobby.

Guide for visitors with autism