An autism sibling shines a light on autistic achievers in celebration of Autism Awareness Month.
As April is Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to share the stories of some incredible achievers on the spectrum. Unfortunately, the word “autism” has some negative stigmas attached to it. I wanted to break some of those stigmas. I have been surrounded by individuals on the spectrum my entire life, and I have witnessed first-hand the amazing things they can achieve.
If someone on the spectrum is going to fulfill their utmost potential, it’s vital that they’re not limited by their parents. I know parents naturally want to protect their child, however, sometimes being too protective can restrict his/her growth. Everyone wants to feel as though they have a purpose in life irrespective of being on the spectrum.
Wayne Davies is a great achiever on the autism spectrum. He is the founder and CEO of Spectrum Economics. He was born in England, but has spent most of his life living in both Singapore and Australia. He’s travelled all over the world presenting at economics conferences.
The Spectrum Economics channel investigates the application of economics in the real world. Wayne is able to comprehend intricate applications of economics and simplify them in a way that everyone can understand. This is incredibly useful to everyone as we all use economics in our day to day lives. Wayne helps us to understand and make better, more informed decisions to improve our quality of life.
Wayne has developed online courses in economics specially designed for real-world applications. Wayne is also an animal and human rights advocate.
Image Credit: Richard Gillin
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The next achiever on the spectrum I would like to introduce is Jessica-Jane. Jessica-Jane is a British gold medallist in Paralympic swimming. She has won 24 gold medals, broken 11 British records, and one world record. Jessica-Jane is opening the doors to understanding more about autism in girls.
We are often told that a person on the spectrum processes information differently. Traits like fondness of structure and routine are often observed in those on the spectrum. Jessica-Jane was able to channel her need for routine into training to become a professional athlete.
Universally across the spectrum, social interaction can be challenging. Allowing your child to pursue their passions will create a sense of safety to express themselves in a way that suits him/her. The freedom of expression without judgement is very important, especially in the developmental years.
Golden stars at Cheeverstown House
I would like to share with you a group of achievers that have come from Cheeverstown House. Cheeverstown House has been transitioning people on the spectrum from centre-based living to community-assisted independent living for years. The difference this has made in the lives of the individuals has been incredible.
The ideology applied by Cheeverstown is that not everyone on the spectrum can be categorized the same way. They have created dozens of care plans that are individualized and allow for independent growth. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the achievers from Cheeverstown. When individual needs and desires are met, the personal growth in a person is incredible.
What is Autism Awareness Month about?
To me, Autism Awareness Month is about promoting awareness to everyone who has ever doubted someone just because they are on the spectrum. We are all different; we all have different goals and dreams. We enjoy different activities. Autism doesn’t define a person; the spectrum is broad and vast. We don’t understand all there is to know about the spectrum and we probably never will. At the end of the day, we are humans and we share the same basic desires: freedom, safety and love.