Exclusion from society, can it be justified and what is the true impact?
It is universally acknowledged that every person, irrespective of their identity, should be treated equally, and this is also stipulated by the Equality Act of 2010. However, there are instances in which autistic people are made to feel abandoned by society and unable to access support. At LWA, we believe it is important to shine visibility on the hidden difficulties faced by the autistic community and put measures in place which are accommodating and enable them to access every available opportunity.
New research conducted by Eilidh Cage -a psychology lecturer at Royal Holloway- suggests that autistic people feel as though they have to hide their true selves, as a result of this, they are more likely to experience mental health issues. There are a number of surveys which indicate that autistic people do not feel accepted by society, therefore, in order to ‘fit in’, they try to act neurotypical, however, this is detrimental to their emotional wellbeing.
It is crucial to recognise neurodiversity and understand that not everyone thinks or acts linearly. Autistic people perceive the world in a way which might not be deemed conventional, but this difference provides originality, therefore it should be facilitated and celebrated by wider society. Having Autism is an important element of someone’s identity, which is why it should be both recognised and accepted. Nobody should have to feel that they need to hide who they are.
Autism is a hidden impairment and covert disability; therefore, it cannot easily be identified by others. As a consequence of this, it is often negatively misunderstood, leaving the individual to feel isolated, neglected and alone. This issue is especially illustrated through society’s treatment of autistic children who present challenging behaviour. In many instances, these children are automatically and wrongfully labelled as ‘naughty’ or ‘difficult’ due to societal ignorance and lack of understanding.
Through ensuring that every environment is Autism-friendly, many of the potential issues which become apparent can be avoided. We need to remember that Autism is an invisible disability and exists on a spectrum because it manifests itself in all different shapes, sizes and behaviours. Reasonable adjustments are not difficult to implement, measures can be put in place in order to mitigate and diminish any difficulties which may arise.
Autistic children should not be discouraged from interacting with their peers or shunned from school or social gatherings. Every child deserves to be accepted and understood by society, including those with Autism.
It is the mission of Living with Asperger’s to increase autism awareness and help break down the barriers created by society. We want to create real change and an inclusive world for those with learning difficulties and social communication disorders. Our goal is to empower individuals living with hidden impairments by providing them with the right tools so that they can take advantage of every opportunity.
Autistic people should not be made to feel shunned from society, which is why we believe that employers and employees should receive autism awareness training. Awareness training is important because it prevents discrimination and develops people’s understanding of autism itself.
In order to prevent exclusion, every workplace and support service should be autism-friendly, this can easily be achieved through two routes; education and reasonable adjustments. Reasonable adjustments ensure that autistic people are supported both in the workplace and in wider society. LWA has been campaigning and encouraging companies to implement reasonable adjustments through raising awareness and emphasising the importance of Easy Read.
Easy Read uses plain and simplified language, broken down into specific steps and accompanied by photo symbols which allow people to understand and retain information.
In addition to this, in order to develop autism awareness, we are currently in the process of planning/preparing the ‘iWill Experience’ which will be rolled out in 2021. This is an experience that utilises workshops, group sessions and a “hands-on” learning approach for the business and corporate world. The experience will work hand in hand with the ‘iWill’ production which is funded by the Welsh Arts Council.
In addition to this, Will Evans' story has been put into both an eBook and now, in association with Living Pictures Productions Ltd, is being transformed into a theatre production. The performance and publication highlight Will’s personal experiences in regards to living with Aspergers, and the hardships he has endured as a result.
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