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Silent Achievements

You may be familiar with famous autistic adults but it is important to remember that autism lives in the people around you, they lead their lives in comfortable obscurity.

Consider these people:

One child with autism touches the lives of countless others. He brings out the best in many of the people he meets throughout his life. He can be a source of inspiration for those around him as he leads a happy, healthy life in the process. This is the greatest measure of success.

World Autism Awareness Day is a group on facebook where every day people post their children’s success. Take a minute.

Create! for Autism is my favourite group. It aims to change the way people think about creativity. The Create! Art for Autism is a national art competition and art exhibition for young people aged 11-25 years old with an Autistic Spectrum Condition. Create! Art for Autism 2014 entries are looking very promising and the event is celebrating its fourth year of success.  Young people with an ASC are invited to enter the five main categories: 2D Art, 3D Art, Digital Photography, Digital Animation and Poetry.

Some of the 2013 winning entries were: (more)

WINNER – POETRY:

Radio Presenters
Danny Quinn – Age 15
Sperrin Integrated College

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WINNER – 2D CATEGORY:

Visage, Pica
Alexander Fox-Robinson – Age 16
Pembroke School

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WINNER – DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY:
Fading Words
Dangloush Brooks – Age 15
The Abbey School

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Some of this years entries are: (more)

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Take a moment to admire these pieces; these artists. Because when you look at art, you don’t see Autism, you see the soul of the artist; and their soul is just like yours.

Educate yourself, don’t look at Autism and “Aww”. Look at Autism and be inspired.

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University of Kent: Imagining Autism

Imagining Autism is a research project conducted at the University of Kent using a range of environments and stimuli and evaluating their encounters with such various interactions (ie lighting, sound, physical action and puppetry).

Sensory Integration Therapy: 

It has been found that people with Autism  have sensory difficulties. I know I’ve used this before but here’s a bit more about it. Again, not all autistic people have this difficulty because (say it with me) no two people on the spectrum are the same.

This sensitivity can be either over- or under-responsive to sensory stimuli or the ability to integrate the senses. It can cause extreme reactions (tantrums, hitting, banging of hands, legs, head) or it can be completely tuned out. So, for example, a sound is perceived differently by people affected by autism, it can be extremely disruptive to them and cause them to act out – because their sensors are overloaded. Another example is taste. Like I’ve said before, it is/used to be a ritual trying to get Chris to try food. He tries it, smells it, stares at it before finally deciding to eat it or throw it as far away as possible. These can also be examples of under-responsive behaviour. Where they don’t react to sounds or noise, which is also the direct cause for parents testing their ability to hear first before anything else. There’s are people on the spectrum that have no appetite for food. If it is not presented to them they wont ask for it, taste isn’t one of the senses that are developed and therefore any food is mundane. When taste is hypo its referred to as ‘pica’ and could also mean that they eat anything – soil, grass, play-dough – because it makes no difference.

SI therapy is similar to the Kent project in that it assesses the persons sensory capacity and it looks for ways to enhance or control it. In this case they looked at a series of sensory environments like outer space, under the sea and the Arctic through drama and performance based activities.

There’s no such thing as a lack of information on Autism. There is a general ‘meh’ attitude towards it though and I’m proud to be working for an institution that dedicates resources to such research.