It is sad to say that at a time when Autism is being more recognised there is still a lack of understanding and Awareness.
Many doors previously shut are being opened presenting brand new options and a whole new world to many who previously may have missed out. Inclusion into more mainstream environments within Education and Employment is now being promoted. The problem is that all too often many of the ‘problems’ that we are asked to advise on are around this ‘inclusion’.
There is no doubt that all inclusion is positive, but, if it is done without the right groundwork being put in place first then it becomes a VERY negative experience. We are asked to advise on situations where Schools/Teachers/Managers and Work Colleagues have failed to understand and implement basic Autism Approaches. It would be all too easy to point the finger at them, but, if they have never been given those tools or the right training it isn’t their fault.
What is the point of ‘inclusion’ if you aren’t going to give people the tools they need to better understand the person they are working or communicating with?
If a teacher doesn’t understand why the pupil in their class acts the way they do and then shouts at them a negative conclusion is going to be reached that all too often ends in ‘challenging Behaviour’ and exclusion. Train the teacher and make them more Autism Aware and suddenly you have someone that rather than just reacting without knowing what they are doing suddenly UNDERSTANDS. They can better read and communicate with the person knowing WHEN and HOW to approach them and also Challenging Behaviour is no longer seen as Bad Behaviour that needs excluding. The tools to manage such a situation are now within their skills and a more positive outcome can be reached. The same can be said of the Work Environment and of any social sphere where anyone on the Autistic Spectrum is being included.
It is too easy for us to be negative on such issues but here at Anna Kennedy online we feel that NOW is the time to be POSITIVE. Let’s identify the places and people where Autism Awareness is needed and start doing something about it rather than just pointing a finger where it is lacking. Action makes changes.
Another pressing issue is also the fact that many parents and families are too often left in the dark about what Autism is and how they can best approach it. Diagnosis of all Spectrum related conditions is improving but what good is it to just tell a parent ‘yes, we can confirm your child is Autistic. See you again soon…’ Parents and families as well as being given the details of a diagnosis also then need to be given the information, support and help that is needed so that they themselves can understand this new world they have been shown. Again, we have to give advice on situations that parents are struggling in where basic Autism Awareness can help them. If a parent doesn’t understand why or how certain things are happening then they will continue to struggle. Show them the reasons and the basic understanding of Autism and suddenly you have given them the ability to look at every situation through eyes that now show them what the problem is.
With all of this in mind we hear you all shout ‘SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?!’ We can’t take every person on the planet and give them a 2 week intense training session on Autism, BUT, we can offer to People/Parents/Teachers/Employers/EVERYONE the chance to raise their basic understanding of Autism and how to approach it. This ‘Awareness’ training would give them a better grounding on how to understand and work around/with Autism which is invaluable in this society of ‘inclusion’. With just a little work we can raise Awareness across this Country so that more and more of the negative outcomes can be changed into ‘POSITIVE’ones.
One of the days we are offering: