The Autism Toolbox: Resources to aid your understanding of autism
Welcome to the Autism Toolbox. This "Toolbox" brings together advice, local support, services, activities and resources relating to autism. The name toolbox has been chosen to reflect that anyone, with or without an autism diagnosis, parents and professionals can make use of this information which covers various topics.
This section is the latest section which pulls together resources from within the toolbox along with a few extras that can help aid your understanding of autism. The content is this section has been considered particularly useful, especially if you're looking to learn more about autism.
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What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It’s not an illness or disease. Autism means your brain works in a different way from other people and affects communication, social interaction and behaviours, such as repetitive behaviours and activities.
You'll hear the phrase "spectrum" used quite a lot, as in Autistic Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Some prefer the term Autism Spectrum Condition, ASC, or just Autism). This means that while autistic people share certain difficulties, autism affects people differently Some autistic people need little or no support. Others may need help from a parent or carer every day. Simply put, like everyone else, autistic people have things they're good and things they might struggle with. Ambitious About Autism in their Right from the start toolkit highlight that autism shouldn't be viewed as a sliding scale ranging from not very autistic to very autistic, but rather as “a colour wheel, where characteristics like motor skills and language blend together like the colours of a rainbow”.
What is Asperger syndrome?
The NHS say Asperger's, or Asperger syndrome, is used by some people to describe autistic people with average or above-average intelligence. Some people call this "high-functioning" autism. Today, Doctors do not diagnose people with Asperger's anymore.
Facts and statistics about autism from the National Autistic Society (NAS).
The biggest myths around Autism dispelled by Ambitious About Autism.
Information about autism from the NHS.
The Children's TV programme Sesame Street introduced its first autistic character called Julia in 2017. This clip of Julia's introduction has received over 3 and a half million views to date. The 10-minute clip offers a simple and engaging introduction to some autistic characteristics.
The clip is particularly useful to introduce children to autism as it's easy to understand and explains certain behaviours as situations arise such as loud sirens causing distress to Julia. As this is Big Bird's first time meeting Julia, the audience is able to follow Big Birds initial impressions and gradually understand more about Julia and her autism. At first, Big Bird feels that Julia doesn't like him because of the way she doesn't immediately answer him, avoids eye contact and a high five and seems reserved. The presenter with the help of Elmo and Abby Cadabby, explains Julia's behaviours, likes and dislikes to help both the audience and Big Bird to get to know more Julia and autism. The episode recognises that with a little bit of understanding Julia, like everyone else showcases her own strengths, traits and personality.
Do you think your child has autism or have they been recently diagnosed? If the answer is yes, you will have many questions about what to do next. Ambitious about Autism’s Right from the Start toolkit is here to help.
This practical toolkit contains a lots of straightforward information in one place to guide parents and carers through their child’s journey in the early years.
From the autism assessment process to the first day of school, this toolkit is packed with practical tips and checklists to support parents during the earliest years of their child’s life. It also provides signposts to sources of support or additional information. The aim of the Right from the Start project is to equip parents with knowledge that will empower them as they navigate this system - helping them feel better informed, more autism-confident, and ultimately ensuring they can secure the support their child needs as early as possible.