Understanding Autism

Although most children go through common stages of child development, each child that enters your setting will be unique. According to Richard Maguire "Autism is a way of being human, a way of living, fascinating and quite unlike the life of most people, we are focused passionate and often quite disorganised."

Developing awareness and understanding of children with autism spectrum disorder is paramount and exploring the potential impacts on the child means they can have development catered towards their needs and learning style. 

Real Stories

PACEY facilitator Annie Grady has two sons with Autism, both on different areas of the spectrum and needing different care. She tells her story.

Richard Maguire wrote a piece 'Not all black and white: an inspiring insight from author Richard Maguire on growing up with autism' in our Summer issue of Childcare Professional about living with Autism and support he needed. 

The lovely video below gives a great introduction to Autism, raising awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and tolerance in future generations.

Video by Amazing Autism Project

Autism Hour

For some people on the autistic spectrum, simple things like going into a shop, or getting food from the supermarket can be overwhelming due to the noise of the music, or bright lights throughout the store. To tackle this, the National Autistic Society organises Autism Hour. Taking place every year in October, over 8000 retailers and businesses get involved.

During the week, when each shop has their autism hour, they take simple steps for 60 minutes or more that lead to a more autism-friendly world. Businesses will turn their music down, dim the lights, share information to their employees and help their customers have a better understanding of autism. 

You can get involved over on the National Autistic Society's website.  

Additional resources

Autism Wales are a national charity who have shared some links and resources to various resources suitable for early years settings in Wales.  This includes:

  • a short animated film developed to show young children how to be kind and accepting towards peers with additional needs.
  • training film shows some of the challenges faced by children with an ASD during a normal day.
  • downloadable cue cards can help autistic children to understand and comply with instructions.
  • additional downloadable resources for practitioners to use in their settings.

Many thanks to PACEY for their kind permission for the use of this article