General Autism Information

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BBC TV series “A kind of spark” (10 episodes)

Reframing autism “autism essential” – Free online course

Autistic girls network – internal presentation of autism

What is Autism

Autism is a word that describes part of the natural variation in how humans think and understand the world. Another word for variation is diversity. Many people have heard of the word biodiversity – this is the variation in living things (e.g. plants and animals).

We know that our world and its environment is strongest when there is a great variety of plant and animal life – biodiversity is important for the survival of our world.  We also know that different plants and animals have different needs.  If they don’t have access to the thing’s they need to thrive, they can struggle to grow and develop properly.

Take trees for example…

Palm trees prefer dry soil.
Maples don’t mind shade.
Pine trees need sunshine.
Willows grow best near water.
The human world is very similar – we have great variety in how our brains work, our interests, skills and abilities. Variation in how brains work is called neurodiversity.
Some people have brains that encourage them to seek to move their bodies in physical ways; want to meet lots of new people; and go to new places.
Other people might enjoy familiar places and people; love solving maths problems; or even creating artwork.

The human world is much stronger when we have diversity. Different brains contribute enormously to the world and help humans to be better at problem solving, coming up with new ideas and adapting to different challenges.

Autism is one kind of neurodiversity. Autistic people share some similarities in how their brains work.

For example, autistic people are often different from other people their age in

…how they prefer to communicate (e.g. some people prefer not to use words, others might love to talk at length about their hobby)
…how they enjoy spending time with other people (e.g. enjoying their own company more than others their age, or having to work harder than other people to make new friends)
…having to work harder to imagine and react to other people’s feelings or attitudes
…often enjoying familiar surroundings and patterns more than seeking out new experiences
…having special interests/ hobbies and great attention to detail
…experiencing certain sensations as overwhelmingly terrible or lovely (e.g. disliking loud noises or loving bright lights)

Just like trees, humans need an environment that suits their unique needs in order to thrive. Autistic people have the right to adjustments to take into account their strengths and the challenges they face growing up a world that’s made for the majority.

Below are some resources to help understand what autism is, written by autistic people themselves

Neuro Bears

YouTube video aimed at young autistic people at pre-school or primary school age to educate and increase understanding of their autistic experience.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_490q6LaHIY

Amazing Things Happen

YouTube Video that introduces autism and aims to raise awareness for non-autistic young people. Great resource to share with parents and teachers.

amazingthingshappen.tv/?projects=amazing-things-happen

Immie’s Signs to Spot Autism

YouTube video where Immie discusses her diagnosis, experience in education, ‘masking’ and spotting undiagnosed autism.

www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=hqioYJGbpNs

The Key that Unlocked my World

Ted Talk by Elisabeth Wiklander in which she talks about her autistic experience and successful everyday life.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvvrme5WIwA- 

Understanding the Spectrum

A comic strip explanation of what autism is by Rebecca Burgess. Suitable for children and adults 8+.

https://the-art-of-autism.com/understanding-the-spectrum-a-comic-strip-explanation/ 

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Description of autism and what autistic people may have in common. Aimed at teenagers and adults.

Website: https://autisticadvocacy.org/about-asan/about-autism/

Neurodiversity Explained

A YouTube video explaining the ide of neurodiversity using Lego.

  • 3 of the Biggest Autism Myths

https://www.autisticslt.com/autism-myths

This page debunks the myths surrounding social skills, empathy and theory of mind.

  • Busting Myths Around Autism & Mental Health

https://www.youngminds.org.uk/professional/spotlight-stories/busting-myths-around-autism-and-mental-health/

Pavan is an 18-year-old Young Ambassador for the National Autistic Society and was diagnosed as autistic in 2018. They explain how their work helps defeat myths around autism and mental health.

Myth busting

  • Autism Myths & Facts

https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/what-we-do/awareness/autism-myths-and-facts

This page debunks many different myths and also provides some facts about autism.

  • Debunking Autism Myths

https://patient.info/news-and-features/debunking-autism-myths

Debunking myths about autism based in the current research and why education surrounding autism is important.

  • Debunking The Myths: Why Everything You Know About Neurodiverse Learners Is Wrong

https://elearningindustry.com/debunking-the-myths-why-everything-you-know-about-neurodiverse-learners-is-wrong

This article discusses the concept of neurodiversity, list some of the most commonly believed myths, and offers advice on how to correct such assumptions.

  • BBC: It’s time we dispelled these myths about autism

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20151006-its-time-we-dispelled-these-myths-about-autism

These four misconceptions about autism are damaging and in desperate need of debunking, says Steve Silberman.

  • Autism myths and causes

https://www.autistica.org.uk/what-is-autism/autism-myths-and-causes

Awareness of autism is growing, but there is still a lot of confusion around what autism is, what causes it and how it affects people in very different ways.

Autistic Identity and Advocacy

  • Growing into Autism

Growing in to Autism eBook : Thom-Jones, Sandra: Amazon.co.uk: Books

  • The Autistic Advocate

https://theautisticadvocate.com/

  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network

https://autisticadvocacy.org/about-asan/

  • Autism Level UP!

https://www.autismlevelup.com/#about

Lots of information about self-acceptance and ideal for young people

  • Thriving Autistic

https://www.thrivingautistic.org/

Supports, advocacy, training and more

  • Divergent Perspectives: Centring Neurodivergent voices to transform practice

https://www.divergentperspectives.co.uk/infographics

Info-graphics about what if means to be neurodivergent

  • Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenara Nerenberg

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44285784-divergent-mind

A paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women—those with ADHD, autism, synesthesia, high sensitivity, and sensory processing disorder—exploring why these traits are overlooked in women and how society benefits from allowing their unique strengths to flourish.

This heartfelt, deeply compassionate and wholly original work humanises women who have so often been dismissed for their differences, and will be celebrated by ‘weird sisters’ everywhere.

  • The #ActuallyAutistic Guide to Advocacy by Jennifer Burton & Jenna Gensic

https://learnfromautistics.com/introducing-the-actuallyautistic-guide-to-advocacy/

An in-depth look at the key elements of effective, respectful, inclusive advocacy and allyship. Every topic was chosen, shaped, and informed by #ActuallyAutistic perspectives.

  • Untypical: How the world isn’t built for autistic people and what we should all do about it by Pete Wharmby

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61111570-untypical

It’s time to remake the world – the ground-breaking book on what steps we should all be taking for the autistic people in our lives.

  • Welcome to the Autistic Community by Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

https://autismacceptance.com/table-of-contents/

This book is about what it means to be a part of the autistic community. Autistic people wrote this book. Some autistic people are just learning about their autism. We wanted to welcome them and give them a lot of important information all in one place.

  • What exactly is Neurodiversity?

https://youtu.be/ALJ3CFRRZpo

The neurodiversity movement has been around for some time, but what exactly is it? In this video, we talk about what the neurodiversity movement is and how it’s linked to the autistic community.

  • Dr Pooky Knightsmith – resources

https://www.pookyknightsmith.com/

An autistic mum of two sharing her lived-experiences

  • Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities by Nick Walker

https://neuroqueer.com/

The work of queer autistic scholar Nick Walker has played a key role in the evolving discourse on human neurodiversity

PDA

  • PDA Society

https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/

Information, support and training for Pathological Demand Avoidance

  • PDA Society helpful approaches with PDA children

https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/life-with-pda-menu/family-life-intro/helpful-approaches-children/

Helpful approaches with PDA – children

  • The PDA Space

https://www.thepdaspace.com/

Spreading awareness of PDA and helping families create a calmer more compassionate home to live in

  • Positively PDA

https://www.positivelypda.co.uk/

Welcome to Positively PDA, I am Melanie, mum to three boys, 2 crazy dogs and a pretty clever cat. I am passionate about changing perspectives and understanding around autism and specialise in the profile of PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance).

  • Sally Cat PDA

http://www.sallycatpda.co.uk/

A blog about adult PDA with illustrative memes

  • Autisticality

https://www.autisticality.co.uk/pda

Info-graphics to illustrate and inform about PDA

  • In Tune Pathways by Kristi Forbes

https://www.kristyforbes.com.au/pda

An online program for forging peaceful pathways for families raising autistic children with a PDA profile

  • Steph’s Two Girls

https://www.stephstwogirls.co.uk/

Family life with a type of Autism called Pathological Demand Avoidance

  • Can You See Me? Book By Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/c/can-you-see-me/

Written in collaboration with young blogger Libby, who is herself autistic, this is a powerful and highly relatable story about fitting in and being yourself. Tally’s diary entries give an authentic insight into one girl’s perspective of being autistic, and smashing a host of common assumptions and stereotypes about autism.

  • The Family Experience of PDA by Eliza Fricker

https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/the-family-experience-of-pda/#:~:text=A%20light-hearted%20and%20digestible%20guide%20to%20being%20a,help%20get%20to%20grips%20with%20this%20complex%20condition.

An illustrated guide to Pathological Demand Avoidance

  • Newbold Hope

https://www.newboldhope.org/

  • The Explosive Child Book by Dr Ross Greene

https://www.shortform.com/summary/the-explosive-child-summary-ross-greene?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Book%20-%20The%20Explosive%20Child%20-%20Broad%20-%20Intl&utm_term=the%20explosive%20child&utm_content=85281419427798&msclkid=4a7cbf3ee026186cc324db8efe0c3ac0

This book will help you discover the cause of your child’s behavioral problems and explain how you can work together to address them

  • Dr Ross Greene

https://drrossgreene.com/

Dr Ross Green is a clinical psychologist and author of ‘The Explosive Child’ and ‘Raising Human Beings’ as well as founder of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS)

  • The Educator’s Experience of Pathological Demand Avoidance by Laura Kerbey

https://uk.jkp.com/products/the-educators-experience-of-pathological-demand-avoidance

  • Declarative Language & Co-Regulation by Linda K. Murphy

https://www.declarativelanguage.com/

Books on how to connect with your child and use a thoughtful language style

  • Beyond Behaviours by Dr Mona Delahooke

https://monadelahooke.com/beyond-behaviors/

  • What is the Low Arousal Approach and How Can It Benefit My Family?

https://autismawarenesscentre.com/what-is-the-low-arousal-approach-and-how-can-it-benefit-my-family/

  • What is the Low Arousal Approach?

https://www.studio3.org/post/what-is-the-low-arousal-approach

The low arousal approach, a concept founded at Studio 3, is now widely practised across the globe.

  • Low Arousal De-escalation Training

https://www.lowarousal.com/

More information from Studio 3 about low arousal

  • Low-Demand Parenting by Amanda Diekman

https://uk.jkp.com/products/lowdemand-parenting

Low-demand parenting allows you to drop the demands and expectations that are making family life impossible and embrace the joyful freedom of living life with low demands. It can be a particularly effective approach for children with high anxiety levels including neurodivergent children.