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News: We’re sup­port­ing World Autism Aware­ness Week: 29th March – 4th April

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
We're Supporting WAAW
We're Supporting WAAW

The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for so many of us, and it’s been particularly tough for autistic people and their families.

World Autism Awareness Week aims to educate those unaware of autism, and highlight how to help make the world friendlier to those who are affected by it.

Former A Level student Georgia on autism and support

Georgia, A Level Photography

Geor­gia, who is autis­tic, stud­ied A Lev­el Pho­tog­ra­phy at the College’s High Pave­ment Sixth Form, and dur­ing her time with us she had a pho­to fea­tured by Vogue Italia on their pho­to website.

She achieved an A grade and pro­gressed to Leeds Arts Uni­ver­si­ty to study a Fash­ion Pho­tog­ra­phy degree. 

I’m autis­tic, and per­son­al­ly I pre­fer that descrip­tion, rather than see­ing it as hav­ing autism’. That’s just because it is me, and I am it, rather than a sep­a­rate thing. But it’s dif­fer­ent for everyone. 

Day-to-day life can be tough, when you fac­tor in sen­so­ry over­load and gen­er­al anx­i­ety, but I know that being autis­tic is the rea­son why I take the pho­tographs I do. I have always paid atten­tion to the small details and have always thought out­side the box. 

 — Geor­gia

Dispelling myths

The biggest myth for me that is so infu­ri­at­ing and dam­ag­ing, is the idea that autis­tic peo­ple don’t have any empa­thy. That some­how they can’t empathise with oth­er peo­ple or feel their emo­tions. We actu­al­ly do, but the way that we feel emo­tions is very strong – that’s why we strug­gle with emo­tion­al regulation. 

For me, and I think this is com­mon for autis­tic indi­vid­u­als, I can feel emo­tions and I can actu­al­ly phys­i­cal­ly feel some­one else’s pain. It can be over­whelm­ing. I actu­al­ly think autis­tic peo­ple are the most accept­ing and under­stand­ing, as we real­ly know how it feels.” 

How to support someone who is affected by autism

First of all, it’s so sim­ple but just lis­ten to them. If they want to talk to you, let them talk about it, and if they give you sug­ges­tions, take them on board. 

Anoth­er thing would be to not get offend­ed if they have a day where they don’t talk much. It takes a lot of ener­gy to talk, so it’s not per­son­al, they might be reg­u­lat­ing their feel­ings. They might have lit­tle behav­iours as well that might not seem nor­mal, such as wear­ing ear defend­ers to help them with noise.” 

College support

I had a men­tor from the Learn­ing Sup­port team at Col­lege. She was so help­ful and there for me at the end of the phone, check­ing in on me. 

Also, just gen­er­al­ly, the atmos­phere at Col­lege is very laid back, but the teach­ers real­ly want to help you learn, so it’s a love­ly envi­ron­ment to be in. 

 — Geor­gia
Published on:
  • 29th March 2021 (9:00 AM)
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