Understand Autism | A better world for everyone

A child with Autism his mother and father smiling towards the camera


How understanding Autism means a better world for everyone

Being misunderstood is a barrier facing many people with Autism in our community everyday – and it is up to all of us to change this and to help bring down those barriers.

Louise, mother to 7 year old Oisin who has Autism, imagines a world of greater understanding, where everyone can feel both accepted and included.

“Autism is an invisible disability and I think if there was just more awareness and more understanding from people – from kids and especially adults – it would be a happier space,” Louise said.

“This world isn’t built for kids on the spectrum and we need to help it be everyone’s world and not just what society sees as ‘normal’ – a world for everyone.”

Louise added that having the right support in place has been so important in helping Oisin to live a fulfilled life. There was a time when he would say little to no words at all and now he loves talking about his two passions – space and surfing.

A young boy with Autism wearing a life jacket surfing on a blue surfboard with assistance from a surfing coach

“He loves space – by about three he knew all the planets – and he adores surfing, he gets so excited to go and has really found his niche there,” she said.

“When you look at Oisin you see a happy, bubbly child but what you don’t see is the struggles – what we have had to do to get him to that point.”

Oisin is a great example of why early intervention is so important, as the ongoing support from Autism Association of WA has helped him to develop life skills such as communication and social interaction, while supporting his family along the way.

Louise said that, while the day-to-day progress at times seemed slow, when she looks back over the past two years, the changes have been huge.

“Once upon a time if we went to a restaurant and the waiter/waitress approached, Oisin would hide under the table but he now insists on ordering himself,” she said.

With the right support, understanding and inclusion, people with Autism can live their best lives, just like Oisin.

For this to be possible, it is important to understand that every person experiences Autism differently and has different support needs – no two people with Autism have the same experiences in the way they communicate and interact socially or how they might feel about and respond to their surroundings.

Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), where ‘spectrum’ refers to the wide range of characteristics, skills and abilities unique to each individual with Autism.

The Autism Association of WA Director of Therapy and Clinical Services, Tasha Alach, said that the organisation is working hard to help the community understand Autism better but that it is up to everyone to be open to learning.

“At the Autism Association of WA, we are committed to helping people with Autism live their best life possible and we believe a huge part of this is greater acceptance and understanding in our community,” Ms Alach said.

“We are asking the WA community to join us today in igniting change for people with Autism –  you can do this simply by taking a few minutes to learn and understand more about Autism.

“Through greater understanding and by celebrating every individual’s unique strengths, we can all make sure that everyone can live their best life possible and create a more inclusive community.”

The Association has produced a series of short videos which celebrate the strengths of different individuals with Autism, including Emma, and also have a range of information and resources available.

 

To learn more, visit www.autism.org.au/understandautism or  Click here!

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