Manifesto: Manifesto: April 2nd 2015


Manifesto: April 2nd 2015

World Autism Awareness Day 2015

One Size Does NOT Fit All”

There has been good progress as regards enhancing public awareness of the existence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). There too has been good progress on people becoming familiar with the core aspects of ASD. Yet progress is still relatively slow concerning the public’s conceptualisation of the vast numbers of ways that ASD manifests with regard to degrees along the Spectrum, possible co-morbid / related conditions and effects, as well as the impact of that person’s life situation and innate personality.

During public awareness campaigns not enough emphasis is placed on the great cognitive diversity that can be found amongst people with Autism, just how different the core features affect each person; that these people are not a cluster of clinical of symptoms that are regularly described to try and explain Autism. “One Size Does Not Fit All”

Our progress is too slow “Beyond Rainman”; we have to place determined emphasis on the Spectrum.

There have been many heated debates in relation to the publication of the DSM-5, but one aspect that whatever opinion a person may hold in this regard, the inclusion of the word “Spectrum” in the name of this condition may well be, and should be a positive turning point in significantly enhancing a vastly improved understanding by society of the diversity of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Historically, provision of services and funding has also been detrimentally affected by this rigid, blinkered method of conceptualising people with Autism. So much focus has been placed, when implementing public awareness campaigns, (quite rightly up to now), on the detection of autism, the signs, the intervention methods, and research into causes, that the public have really only been provided with clinic information with the personal / subjective aspect being minimised. This needs to change, to truly enrich and improve the lives of people with an ASD in society.

It can be understood that as a result of the complex nature of Autism, it is an exceptionally difficult condition to explain to “the man in the street”, but this also gives us a wonderful platform that maybe we are not utilising enough to stress that not all people with an ASD are like “Rainman”, nor will achieve as much as Temple Grandin, or draw as well as Stephen Wiltshire, but this does not mean they their life’s achievements are any less deserving of society’s interest, inclusion, support and acknowledgement.

Jill Stacey. President. 02.04.2015


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