Ear defenders and fidget toys are among items in autism-friendly first aid kits, now available on sailings operated by Isle of Wight ferry firm, Red Funnel.

Specially-trained staff will be on had to support families who are making the Solent crossing, from Southampton to Cowes and East Cowes.

There are also new ways to get on and off the ferry in a quieter, calmer way.

And families and carers can book a familiarisation visit, giving people with autism the chance to walkthrough their experience before they commit to the journey.

The changes have won praise from the National Autistic Society.

Christine Flintoft-Smith, the organisation's head of autism accreditation, said: "Red Funnel should be exceptionally proud of their achievement. 

"The National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award sets a high standard, which Red Funnel has worked incredibly hard to meet.”

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said: "We are dedicated to ensuring that every passenger that steps on board our ships has a pleasant experience from start to finish.

"As a business that is committed to being fully inclusive, we are continuously updating our facilities and I am pleased that these latest changes will specifically improve travel for those with autism.”