Here at The Shippey Campaign, we often talk about UNDERSTANDING Autism when it comes to raising awareness. That is the hardest part and the part that is incredibly lacking when it comes to talking about Autism.
Before our eldest child was born it was just a word to us. We had heard it before, but we didn’t know much about it.
When our first child was born and Autism was first mentioned to us, we had to start to research what Autism was, what we could expect and how it could affect our lives. You see, there is no history of Autism in our family, so this was all very new to us and to our family as a whole.
We asked, observed, questioned, attended courses and generally searched for every bit of information we could possibly find. We shared the information with grandparents, aunties, friends…anyone who was prepared to listen really. It was full on saturation for us. The questions came quickly…
Why the delay in development?
When will speech come?
Will mobility get better?
Tell us about learning disabilities
When will we sleep longer than one and a half hours at a time?
What about education?
What is a statement? (Now an EHCP)
Do we need this many specialists for a baby?
Is the paperwork ever going to end?
Can we discuss our child without feeling like a case study?
Why does everything they do need to be monitored?
Will we ever have a normal family life?
And as our three children got older, the question..’but why can’t our boys have the same opportunities as their neurotypical pals?’ Came into force. Particularly when it came to football matches. Before we had our three sons, we were season ticket holders at Sunderland AFC for many years and would regularly enjoy the noise and atmosphere at the match. However, life had a very different path planned out for us.
That’s when our charity really took off.
So many other families have been, and still are extremely restricted when it comes to enjoying life as a family.
Why should families be restricted? It’s all due to a lack of UNDERSTANDING.
Everyone is AWARE of Autism and will nod enthusiastically when they recount a family members, friends cousin who had a child with it, and they would only eat certain foods, but that not really what it’s about. It’s about understanding how vast the spectrum is and what bothers one person doesn’t neccessarily bother another.
It’s about understanding that it takes time to face anxieties, it takes time to transition through stages that we would happily move on to and it takes time to learn from each person what works for them and how they function at their optimum.
Finding the switch that opens their world is an amazing moment. We have had experience of that first hand. It’s generally an interest that your person has be it a certain type of music, a certain sport, trains, dinosaurs etc. Chatting to them about their number one interest is sure to start some amazing conversations and will help immeasurably with their learning and development!
So, why do we ask you to become more savvy and to start understanding Autism when you don’t have it in your family?
Because at one point we didn’t either.