This week is World Autism Acceptance Week.

We’re helping to highlight awareness and acceptance of autism for World Autism Acceptance Week.

According to the National Autism Society, Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Members with Autism may interact with the world differently than other people, they may see, hear, feel, and understand the world around them very differently than you or I.

Autism is not a cut-or-dry condition, and how it presents itself will vary from person to person. All Autistic people will share certain difficulties, but the effect these difficulties have on their everyday life varies drastically.

Some of these difficulties which are present in the majority of Autistic individuals are:

  • Social Communication.
  • Social Interaction.
  • Repetitive behaviour and routines.
  • Highly focused interest.
  • Sensory sensitivity.

Types of Abuse

There are key areas of abuse that all clubs who work with children and young people need to understand:

  • Physical Abuse.
  • Emotional Abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse.
  • Neglect.
  • Medical Care.

Identifying safeguarding issues for Autistic members

The National Autistic Society reports that children with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than non-disabled children, yet the abuse is less likely to be reported (Miller and Brown, 2024).

It is important that if you or any other adult within your club has a concern about the welfare of a child within your club, action is taken at the soonest possible opportunity.

The Working Together to Safeguard Children Act 2018 states ‘providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges.’

An Autistic child or young person may find it hard to vocalize if they experience abuse, particularly if they have communication difficulties or are non-verbal. Advice on how to support autistic members with communication difficulties can be found on the National Autistic Society website.

It is important that careful consideration is given to what the member is trying to communicate with you, especially non-verbal members. This could be about an injury, sign, or indicator of possible abuse. Highly articulate young people may not know how to report abuse or even fully understand the extent of the situation.

In this situation asking straightforward and non-leading questions can help navigate this. An example of this could tell me the best and worst thing that happened to you today.

Reporting a Concern

When considering whether to report a concern about a member, remember the 4 R’s – Recognise, Respond, Report, Record.

If you have a concern about the immediate safety of a child or adult at risk you must contact the Police or Children’s Social Care along with your club’s Welfare Officer. Once you have taken this step please complete and email a copy of the form on this page to

If your concern is not regarding the immediate safety of a child or adult at risk then report it to your Club Welfare Officer or in the absence of a Club Welfare Officer, directly to our Safeguarding, Compliance & HR Manager at requesting a call back or telephone 07568 503791.

Expert advice can also be provided by the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

More information on reporting concerns about members can be found on this British Taekwondo Safeguarding page.

Further research and Learning

The National Autistic Society has created a downloadable booklet on safeguarding children and young people with Autism. This includes more information on the areas outlined above, as well as information on bullying and online safety, radicalisation, and child sexual exploitation.

If you would like to get in touch with British Taekwondo to talk more about our provisions for our members with Autism, please get in contact with Annie Rogan, Disability Development Officer at