Tag Archives: NAS

Experience Sensory Sensitivity in Autism

The video below is created by the National Autistic Society simulates the sensory sensitivities experienced by some people who are in the Autism spectrum. I must emphasize that each individual with Autism is unique, therefore this video does not represent the experience of each and every person with Autism. However, it offers a window for us to experience what it could be like.

I hope that this video will help you understand Autism a little bit more.

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Autism Hangout: Employment and Autism

On the ninth episode of the Autism Hangout, we discussed Autism and Employment. SOME people with special educational needs and/ or disablities often struggle with finding and maintaining work, particularly those with Autism. Due to their rigidity of thoughts, preferences for routines and familiar places and the different ways in which they communicate and socialize may not be understood by employers. This could then lead to a conflict between the employers and employees.

There are however, several steps that could be taken in order to avoid such conflicts from arising. Here are some of them:

  1. Train and educate employers and recruiters about Autism and its effects on individuals. Negativity towards people with Autism usually comes from people’s ignorance of Autism. Stereotypes are not always true- particulary the negative ones. By training employers and recruiters about Autism, understanding and acceptance could be increased.
  2. Train and educate people with Autism about job application process, particularly interviews both at home and in schools. Filling out application forms and writing CVs are hard enough even for people without any learning difficulties. Be  even more patient and teach those with Autism and other learning difficulties. Provide mock interviews way before young adults leave school to allow them to practise body language, appropriate responses and dress codes.
  3. Companies should allow candidates to visit the job sites prior to applying for any post. In this way, any prospective applicant could  observe and experience the work environment, talk to current employees, have a real sense of the job’s requirements (physical, mental and emotional). Also, carers and/ or family members should be allowed to accompany those who require assistance.
  4. Prospective job applicants should be aware of the Equality Act 2010 which should be adhered to by all companies.

Companies should also take the following advice into consideration:

  1. When placing an advertisement for any jobs, companies should explicitly emphasise specific needs for social and communication skills. This will help individuals with Autism tease-out the jobs that they could do. In addition, it avoids an unwelcomed surprise on an individual’s first day.
  2. When it comes to the interview stage, interviewers should be made aware of individuals’ diagnoses and the interviewer should also be someone who has experience with communicating with people with Autism.
  3. Interviewers should ask ‘closed’ questions (those that can be answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’), and should avoid asking hypothetical questions as this may be difficult for people with Autism (particularly who are on the severe end of the spectrum) to answer. It should be noted that one of the characteristics of people with Autism is their limited (or atypical) imagination. Some find it difficult to imagine a hypothetical situation, and prefer only to think of concrete examples that have actually happened to them.
  4. Interviewers should also be aware that some people wth Autism may exhibit body language that may seem unusual. Interviewers are encouraged to look past these body language and focus on what the individual’s skills as a potential employee.
  5. It is also important to give the potential employee a lot of support before and during their employment. Give them time to think about your question (during an interview), give them specific and clear instructions, avoid metaphors, give them direct but sensitive feedback and give them a timetable.
  6. Most importantly, give them a chance to prove that they can actually do the job in question. Look past the Autism and I promise you, you will be amazed!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDLU1VkRj9w&feature=share

 

For more information and support regarding Autism and employment, visit the National Autistic Society’s website: www.autism.org.uk

Inspiring People with Autism (4): Kevin Healey

KevKevin Healey is one of the UK’s leading Autism Awareness campaigner and a councilor for the National Autistic Society in the UK. He has been campaigning for Autism rights for over a decade and has inspired loads of people, incluing myself. As a person with Autism, Kevin understands what others like him are going through. People with Autism have different developmental trajectories, particularly in areas of social interation and communication. In addition, some may be hyper- or hypo- sensitive to sensory stimuli such as noise or bright lights. These, coupled with other people’s lack of understanding of the condition could lead to prejudice and negative attitudes.

IMG_6144As he recounted on his speech in this year’s Autism Show, Kevin himself has been a victim of bullying throughout the majority of his life. Being a victim of bullies has had a detrimental effect on his worklife, academic achievements and personal sense of security. He has been targeted in school, at work and even on the internet.

As a result of his experiences, Kevin decided to launch an anti-bullying campaign in order to protect people with Autism from being the target of bullying and other hate-related acts. Kevin has experienced and has seen enough victimization in his life and has decided to act upon it. Kevin, along with his supporters, are still pushing for this campaign to be supported and shown in billboards (which will be displayed very soon, nationally) and all media outlets.

He is currently pushing for a law against ‘HATE CRIMES AGAINST THOSE WITH AUTISM’, which garnered a lot of support from celebrities such as Ricky Gervais and Katie Price, and from local MPs. The UK parliament website states:

That this House congratulates Kevin Healey, an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, who has been helping to raise awareness of hate crime, including cyber-bullying, trolling, stalking and physical bullying, against those suffering with autism through a highly successful Twitter campaign and a Global Anti-Bullying Autism Campaign; notes that the campaign has received the backing of celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Katie Price and Melanie Sykes; further notes concern at the findings of a National Autistic Society survey that revealed 81 per cent of respondents having experience of verbal abuse, while 47 per cent reported that they have been victims of a physical assault, and that 24 per cent had been victims of cyber-bullying; and finally, calls on the Government to review urgently legislation and police recording of disability hate crime in order that victims can be confident that their suffering will be taken seriously and ended.

Kevin is the epitome of resilience. Despite his negative and (possibly) traumatic experiences in the hands of ignorant others, he did not stop. He wanted bullying and victimisation to stop, and he acted on it. His campaign will not only benefit himself, but thousands if not millions of others will greatly benefit from it, too. Everyday, he is proving to me and everyone else that people with Autism are a major part of society. He challenges negative stereotypes day after day, through his work which is fuelled by compassion and desire to help others and make this world a better place. I am sure that there will soon be a law to protect people with Autism against hate-related acts, and it will be because of Kevin Healey.

He is not an ordinary man. He is a hero. Yes, he has Autism, and yes, he is a hero.

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You can help by following Kevin on twitter (@Kevin_Healey )and retweeting his campaign-related tweets. You can also join the twitter storm every Thursday nights in order to get this topic trending (note that the more people we reach, the more this campaign will be successful). Please visit Kevin Healey’s Autism Awareness Campaign website for more information: www.autism-campaign.co.uk

More inspiring people with Autim:

Temple Grandin

Jessica Jane Applegate

Pokemon creator, Satoshi Tajiri

Carly Fleischmann

Inspiring Artists who have Autism

Kevin Healey’s Anti-Bullying Campaign poster. Please share

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Please print and share this picture of Kevin Healey’s anti-bullying campaign. Kevin will be speaking at The Autism Show in Manchester’s EventCity tomorrow, 29 June. Please come along to hear his, and others’ talks about the different aspects of Autism and the current research findings about the condition.

For discounted tickets, visit www.autismshow.co.uk

Please Support Kevin Healey’s Campaign Against Autism Bullying

Anti-Bullying-Logo_F

Kevin Healey, the UK’s leading campaigner for Autism, has started a campaign against bullying which specifically targets people on the Autism Spectrum. People with Autism are prone to being attacked and bullied in school, playgrounds, workplaces and even in the internet mainly due to other people’s ignorance. The social skills of people with Autism develop differently to those without the condition. It has been documented that some of them find it difficult to find and maintain friendships, which leads to depression and suicide ideation in some cases. This is why Kevin is pushing for a law against bullying people with ASD to be written and passed in England.

Internet trolls also target people with ASD, as evidenced by this facebook page:

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…and this fake account of Katie Price’s son, Harvey:

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These are undoubtedly, utterly disgusting. It is unacceptable to bully anyone at all. But people without ASD have different coping mechanisms than those with ASD. Effects are heightened in those with Autism partly due to their lack of emotional and social development.

What Can You Do?

  • Educate yourselves and others about the bullying against people with Autism.
  • Spread the word about this campaign. Re-post this article, print out posters from Kevin’s website (CLICK HERE) and distribute them, tell your friends and families about it.
  • Write to your MPs, local newspapers and news channels to get more people on board.