Each year, as a nation, we are encouraged to take part in activities in our schools, at work or our own fundraisers to help increase awareness and raise money for charities trying to educate us about autism. This week is World Autism awareness week so people all over the world are doing a bit extra for those who struggle with autism.
What is autism?
Autism is a mental condition that is usually present from early childhood. It’s a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people and the world around them.
People with autism see, hear and feel the world differently. People with autism share certain difficulties but will affect them in different ways. Some suffer from learning disabilities, mental health issues and other conditions like ADHD, impaired hearing or Down’s syndrome. Because autism is often diagnosed alongside other conditions it’s important to support them in ways that meet all their needs whilst recognising that each person’s needs are distinct to their own personalities.
All people on the autistic spectrum can learn and develop. With the necessary means, everyone can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.
How does Autism affect peoples day-to-day lives?
The world can be a very overwhelming place for people suffering from autism and this can cause them considerable anxiety. People often instinctively know how to communicate and interact with other but for autistic people socialising can be very hard.
A challenge a lot of people face is how to build a rapport with someone autistic. Often cautious of what they say and how they interact. Autistic people may wonder why they are ‘different’ and feel their social differences mean people don’t understand them.
They can suffer from interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language: gestures, the tone of voice, facial expressions and sarcasm. They often take language very literally and struggle to understand the context what is being said. Some may not speak or have fairly limited speech. They will often understand more of what other people say to them than they are able to express, yet may struggle with vagueness or abstract concepts.
There is no ‘cure’ for autism. The exact cause of I is still under investigation which is where you can come in.
How can we help?
This week, people all over the world will be doing their bit to raise money. So why not get some extra road miles in, do your first run or leave your Nike’s until next month and donate to NSA here. If you think it’s time to lace up to make a change here are some of the runs going on across the UK that you can take part in.
Date: Thursday 1 – Wednesday 7, 2018
Virtual Runner UK has teamed up with The National Autistic Society to host a virtual event for any Doctor Who and/or running enthusiasts out there! With a limited edition, spinning Doctor Who themed TARDIS medal for everyone who completes the event
Date: Monday 28 May 2018
Distance: 6.2 miles/10K
On 28 May 2018, over 10,000 runners will take to the streets of London to take on one of the most popular 10k runs in the UK.
Date: Sunday 9 September 2018
Location: Newcastle-Gateshead-South Shields
Distance: 13.1 miles/21 kilometres
The Great North Run is the world’s biggest half marathon! The hugely popular run starts in Newcastle city centre, over the iconic Tyne Bridge, with the swooping Red Arrows overhead and onwards to finish with the sea views in South Shields.
Date: 22 April 2018