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April 2 is #AutismAwarenessDay

by Twitchy on April 2, 2014

On World Autism Awareness Day, I’d like to see more government funding support and better-run programs for schools and health care. This should be, but isn’t a given. Don’t all kids deserve an equal chance to be educated? (Don’t even start me on those who see this as a “cost”, rather than long-term investment in a productive, independent future which benefits the entire community.)

In primary school, where most kids with higher functioning autism can do quite well in a mainstream setting, there isn’t always a welcoming culture. We now know the incredible benefits of early interventions that literally change lives, yet government health care and funding programs have provider waiting lists that outlast the age eligibility of so many who need to access them! Not only does this not help those for whom it is intended, if take-up rates are inadequate then these programs are likely to be axed.

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Ultimately, the most important thing that society as a whole can do is broaden awareness and extend a little more kindness and understanding to those in the Autism community. These individuals and families put so much work into just functioning, fighting for and bringing their kids up to the level of their peers, with or without help. The last thing they need is judgement, generalisations, public stares, eye-rolling (yes, it happens all too often) and unhelpful comments from those who have more opinions than knowledge.

Lastly, I want to see an end to bullying. I want that for everyone, but these kids cop it more than most. Nobody deserves that. All they want is to go to school to learn and feel safe while doing so. Such a simple and fundamental need, yet you wouldn’t believe how hard it can be to maintain. It takes a village.

They may be different and they may need more assistance but they are not less.

I don’t normally ask, but please share this with whomever you can.

Thank you.

 

My Little Drummer BoysTwinkle In The Eye

HOUSE

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Grace April 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Love the meme, Twitchy.
There’s still so much animosity around autism and I wish we had the proper facilities in place to understand and support those who have it, as well as their families.
Loved seeing so many kids and their parents taking part in WAAD through social media. We can all start with awareness and hopefully, opening up the doors to more conversations and discussions.

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Kylie Purtell April 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Well said Twitchy! The support for autism in our schools is disgustingly woeful and has been for many, many years. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take that long to change.

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nikki April 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

all so true. our mainstream schooling is a roller coaster. the supporting SEP staff does what they can but I feel they are rigid in the type of support they supply and in a primary school with 50 (!!) on the spectrum (900 total students), it would be good to actually educate on autism instead of just vaguely preaching how it’s ‘ok to be different’ and ‘bullying no way’.
i struggle to find the balance between advocating for autism and my son to be just himself and not exposing him to be bullied for his autism and the answers to this must come from the school system and not from individual parents and autistic students.
great post.

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Cybele @ BlahBlah April 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

It seems amazing that people lack compassion about these issues. I sometimes wonder if it’s our obsession with norms, averages and what people should be doing at different times rather than celebrating how different minds work. Society and evolution need variety to keep going. If we all think the same way we won’t make the breakthroughs we may need to make in the future. Oops, better step off my hobby horse now… x

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Alicia April 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Sadly autistic kids can be easy targets to a bully. They are easily roused and easily led. I have to agree, more needs to be done for them in the area of education. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have a specialised program or school readily available to them.

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Emma Fahy Davis April 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm

I wrote about bullying this week too, my daughter has a physical disability and has unfortunately also been on the receiving end of others’ nasty words. It tears my heart apart. And the lack of government funding to support children with additional needs of all kinds is an absolute travesty. We can do better, we should do better, we MUST demand better.

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Annaleis April 3, 2014 at 12:13 am

I know exactly where you are coming from when you say the words ‘feel safe’ – that is the one wish for my son, to always feel safe out there where I can’t always cushion the world.

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Trish MLDB April 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Well said. Bullying is not on for anyone – there should be zero tolerance for those more vulnerable kids. Support is vital.

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fairydust April 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Fab blog today. I agree more awareness in the community more funding more need for help in all areas with autism,. NO child should be made to feel different we all have a soul we all have feelings and a child more so than an adult. I think all children should be made to learn sign and makaton from prep onwards. And, I think the govt should focus on children’s health and education as a top priority. It is up to us as parents to help our children not judge and not be rude…eye ball rolls pee me off. Doesn’t the govt realise parental respite and sleep in order to focus are essential needs not wants. And respite is a positive as kids get to focus and achieve and parents get to sleep and regroup x ps excuse my going off on a tangent with sign language just strongly feel all kids should learn that at a young age, in order to communicate and have a feeling that is normal to just be able to sign away if they meet somebody with a hearing impairment. Just my example of schools needing to enter a more holistic approach in educating children.

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Bronnie - Maid In Australia April 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm

So well written. We’ve been on the receiving on some of those head shakes and eye rolls. Today my son dyed his hair blue and painted his fingernails blue to raise awareness and money for World Autism Day. He got ‘humiliated’ (his words) at school, and only raised .25c for his troubles. The day before we walked the streets and made $9. We have fundraised for charity before and there definitely isn’t the same sympathy or empathy for autism that’s for sure. It definitely hurt his feelings and opened my eyes.

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Twitchy April 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Oh Bronnie that’s terrible… My thoughts go out to your boy. His intentions were wonderful xx

It seems a bit like people still assume there is an element of ‘choice’ or ‘self-control’ involved. I wonder if I am right, that this is because autism is not as clear cut as other issues that can be visibly obvious or clinically proven.

Tamara April 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I have a disabled child and for us it is the adults that are rude about him within ear shot. I can only but imagine what it must be like for a child to try and manage being the target of bad behaviour.

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Nathan April 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Absolutely agree about the need for further funding. As a teacher and a parent of children with autism, I see how hard schools work to support kids with ASDs, but there is only so far resources and funding can be stretched. The schools I see certainly do a great job with what they have, but imagine what they COULD DO.

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Twitchy April 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Thank you Nathan, you are right. It can all too often be left up to an individual teachers’ level of time and care to make things run smoothly in a classroom with additional needs students and this just isn’t fair. And I stress, I say this with the *entire* classroom in mind, not just regarding the staff and additional needs students. Everyone has the right to learn and this can’t be done without the required resources.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me April 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

My heart aches when I think about how hard it must be so see people look at your children and be so rude. I mean people look at me and my boisterous, often badly behaved boys and head roll, mutter, but I ignore them. However, those who are too ignorant to take the time to consider a child’s feeling – makes me mad as hell. You are a fantastic mumma! x

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