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What is autism?

Autism has many different faces, many different voices, many different shapes ....... I am sure you have heard the saying, "If you have meet a child with autism, you have met a child with autism." No two people with autism are the same.

Many people I have spoken to associate autism with the stereotypical features; flapping arms, stimming and a general lack of control. Yes, this is sometimes the case, of course, but in reality I am yet to come across a truly representative definition or description of autism.

I asked around at All Hands Together to see what autism meant to our teachers and staff. They said:

"A developmental challenge that affects the way you experience the world."

"It does not come with rules, we need to build a stronger, inclusive society. It takes a world and society with compassion and kindness."

"It is a unique ability that has taught me how to see things from a different perspective."

"Autism - challenging the stereotype to reveal the uniqueness of each and every person."

and my favourite.....

"A child with autism is not ignoring you but simply waiting for you to enter their world."

To me, autism means brilliance, wonder, colour, comfort, passion, I could go on forever. I have had so many wonderful experiences with children and adults with autism that I cannot even describe with words. They never fail to fill me with amazement whether it is celebrating the small wins or being awed by some brilliant achievement. At the end of the day, who created the norm in this world, what makes something 'normal' in our society. It is simply a matter or perspectives and it's about time we all had a paradigm shift and openly embraced everything that seems different or 'not' normal' in our eyes.



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