Autism awareness week
What is autism? How can you show your support and understanding?
Our Campaigns Vice Chair, Tim McGirr shares his thoughts and advice
There are different levels of autism and some people are more severe than others but some of what people experience can be similar regardless to where they are on the spectrum.
Crowds loud noises hyper sensitive and stimming these are examples of how autism can affect themselves. They have no fear and are not good at social interaction. Some have speech delay and so they communicate with picture boards makaton sign language so they can show you what they want or need. They also struggle with eye contact!
But some will see all that are negatives but that is a complete miscomprehension. There Outlook may be different but they are good with other things like electronics science geography and many other things. They look into more depth with things and they can actually be quite clever
Other than communication and outlooks they can experience meltdowns and for others and loved one to see them suffer is quite tough. These meltdowns can start without trigger or warning or have reason with it they csn last 5 minutes or go on for hours.
The best way to help them is for yourself to remain calm and keep them calm whilst finding different techniques to help them calm down or avoid meltdowns.
Please if your walking around in public and you see someone having a meltdown don’t just assume it’s a naughty adult or child it may be someone with a learning difficulties don’t just stare. Its not the parents fault or carers in that moment that adult or child screaming or melting down is struggling with the surroundings or with something specific and the looks stares comments are not nice for either the carer or the one having s meltdown. They csn have such a negative impact on both with their mental health whrn all they doing is their job or caring for their child.
If you are a parent or family member and you have concerns that your child or adult is struggling speak with a gp or a health visitor. They are there to help and lead you down the right path
You can get support from the national Autistic society if you are diagnosed. They are fantastic at supporting yourselves. Take a look at www.autism.org.uk
They may seem different but they have feelings just like everyone and with you helping them and understanding having patience and compassion helps them in a imperfect world.