What is Autism?

Embracing Autism: Understanding, accepting, and appreciating the spectrum: A mother's perspective

Rose Mabiza • 8 mins read

24 April 2024

What is Autism in London - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

As April unfolds, we witness not only the blossoming of spring but also the vibrant colours of understanding and acceptance during Autism Awareness Month. This month holds special significance for me, not just as a mother of an autistic child but also as an advocate for embracing the spectrum of neurodiversity. With the theme of “Colour: Awareness - Acceptance - Appreciation, let's delve deeper into what autism truly means and how we can move from merely surviving to thriving”.

Navigating the journey of parenthood is a path filled with twists, turns, and unexpected discoveries. As a mother of a child with autism, my journey has been uniquely shaped by the challenges and joys that come with understanding and embracing neurodiversity. Autism, often surrounded by misconceptions and stereotypes, deserves to be approached with clarity and compassion. In this blog, I endeavour to illuminate the true essence of autism, drawing from both research and personal experiences. Whether you're a friend, family member, or community member, I extend a heartfelt invitation to join me in exploring and understanding autism more deeply.

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Understanding Autism

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex neurodevelopmental condition characterised by differences in social interaction, communication, and behaviour. It's called a spectrum disorder because it manifests differently in each individual, ranging from mild to severe symptoms. While some individuals with autism may require substantial support in daily life, others may lead relatively independent lives.

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Understanding the spectrum

The autism spectrum encompasses various abilities, challenges, and characteristics. Some individuals may have exceptional skills in specific areas, such as mathematics, music, or art, while facing difficulties in others, such as social interaction or sensory processing. No two individuals with autism are exactly alike, making it essential to recognise and appreciate the unique strengths and challenges of each person.

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Common characteristics

While autism presents differently in each individual, there are some common characteristics often associated with the condition:

  • Social challenges - Individuals with autism may struggle with social interactions, including difficulty understanding social cues, maintaining eye contact, and engaging in reciprocal conversation.
  • Communication differences - Speech delays, repetitive language, and challenges in understanding nonverbal communication are common among individuals with autism. Some may use alternative forms of communication, such as gestures, pictures, or assistive devices.
  • Sensory sensitivities - Sensory processing differences are prevalent in autism, leading to heightened sensitivity or decreased sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as sound, light, touch, or smell. These sensitivities can significantly impact daily life and may result in sensory overload or meltdowns.
  • Repetitive behaviours - Many individuals with autism engage in repetitive behaviours or routines, such as hand-flapping, rocking, or arranging objects in a specific order. These behaviours often serve as a coping mechanism or a way to regulate sensory input.
The Spectrum of Autism A Comprehensive Overview in Liverpool - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

Support and acceptance

Support and acceptance play crucial roles in the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Creating an inclusive and understanding community fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment for individuals with autism. Educating ourselves and others about autism, promoting acceptance, and advocating for accessible resources and accommodations are vital steps toward building a more inclusive society.

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Making noise for Autism

During Autism Awareness Month, let's make some noise—not just for recognition but for understanding, acceptance, and appreciation. Let's paint the world with empathy and compassion, creating spaces where individuals with autism feel seen, heard, and valued. Let's educate ourselves and others, challenge stereotypes, and advocate for policies and practices that promote inclusion and accessibility.

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As we navigate through Autism Awareness Month, let's remember that our goal is not just to raise awareness but to foster a culture of acceptance and appreciation for all individuals, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum. Let's celebrate the richness of diversity within the autism community and commit ourselves to creating a world where everyone can thrive. Together, let's embrace the spectrum and paint a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Learn more about how you can contribute to autism awareness and understanding.

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