Autism, along with its related spectrum disorders, has become a bit of a ‘buzzword’ at the moment. We have had World Autism Day, British television programmes such as the drama ‘The A Word’ and the documentary ‘Employable Me’ seek to show the some of the issues surrounding ASD. Even the Lord Mayors Charity, here in Leeds is supporting Specialist Autism Services this year.
Now whilst all this ‘awareness’ is to be praised and very welcome, it can lead to some misconceptions. For example, in The A Word, the child with Autism has an obsession with music and is nearly always seen wearing a pair of headphones. My son R*** like music and does wear headphones. However, these headphones are noise cancelling headphones which wears when external noises become too much for him. I was asked by a colleague, how he was doing these days and I showed them a recent photograph of him at his day services. His was digging in the service allotment, and wearing his headphones as he does. The person I was show the pictures to said that he “looked liked the boy off the TV” and “what does he listen to?” It was very difficulty to get across why he wears them.
So, pleased that I am, that this awareness is now being pushed forward, I think there is still a long way to go before many people can begin to understand ASD.