It was fitting that, this week, during Autism Awareness Month, Ms Betts and Mrs Cameron were invited to Mountfield Heath School to establish Community links. The school specialises in supporting children with an autism diagnosis, as well as children with social and emotional needs. By working with schools in our community we can mutually benefit from each other’s expertise and resources, and we are looking forward to a time when pupils at Mountfield Heath will be able to use our grounds for some of their outdoor activities.

What is World Autism Awareness Month?

World Autism Awareness Month is observed every year in April to raise awareness about autism and how it affects not only those who live with it but people around them as well. Organised by the National Autistic Society, it stands alongside World Autism Awareness Day as the flagship awareness event for Autism worldwide.

What is Autism?

Autism is the term given to the developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to socially interact and communicate effectively. People with autism often feel like it is a part of their being. It is an important part of who they are as a person because it affects how they live their lives every day.

Symptoms of autism appear in early childhood and typically are detected when children fail to reach certain development milestones.

In order to raise autism awareness, it is important we understand the symptoms. Here are some common signs of autism in young children:
• not understanding the feelings or thoughts of others;
• being unable to explain their feelings;
• often preferring their own company over making friends;
• getting upset if their routine is interrupted or subject to change.

What Causes Autism?

A variety of factors can lead to the onset of autism. While a lot of these are genetic, environmental causes such as alcohol, pollution or auto-immune diseases have been attributed to contributing to its presence. It affects 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 people around the World, adding up to around 25 million people globally, which is why it is important to raise not only awareness, but acceptance of autism.

Karen Betts