As today is World Autism Awareness Day, we would like to introduce you to 16-year-old Natalie. Natalie is autistic and is very proud of this.
What is autism? The National Autism Society describes Autism as a “lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. …autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties but being autistic will affect them in different ways. “
To raise awareness for Autism Natalie had a haircut. Perhaps for many this sounds like a simple thing, but Natalie contemplated this cut for a long time, and it is something that is very difficult for her because her hair is one of her triggers. Natalie doesn’t like anyone touching her hair and is only comfortable with her mother styling her hair. And a haircut can change one’s appearance which as Natalie considered this it was very challenging BUT, like everything else in her life that has proven a challenge, Natalie stepped up to it!
Without adding detail, she was abruptly made aware of the horror that is cancer which made an impact on her. She loves the fact that she can help in a small way by donating her hair to help make a wig for a young person. Natalie took time to prepare herself for the hair cut and initially the date was set for 5th April, but the school Natalie attends wanted to get involved and support her, so she had her hair cut at school on March 26.
If you would like to help and support Autism Awareness and Natalie in particular, you can do so through JustGiving. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So, it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
There is still time to support and encourage Natalie!
Why is awareness important? Chatting with Natalie’s mum, Georgina, she said,
“Natalie received her diagnosis about 10 years ago now and we received literally no support. I have been delighted at how much this has changed. Awareness and understanding of Autism is so important to us because it’s not an easy journey. ”
We asked Natalie’s mum what advice she would have for parents whose child has just received a diagnosis, she said
“Advice is hard!! Ehm it’s a long, hard but very rewarding journey. It’s important to remember that an autistic person isn’t broken, they don’t need fixed. Their brain works differently from a non-autistic person. I’ve always taught Natalie this and to be proud that she thinks differently because it’s pure and beautiful. You need a whole lot of love, time and patience but also perseverance because anything is possible but in their own time. We talk about changes if possible, for a long time before it happens. Most importantly, don’t feel peer pressured by parents with children of the same age as they will never be the same. I have learned so much from having Natalie and unfortunately the world is full of judgemental people with little time or patience it’s tough, but I don’t hide this from her. She needs to be able to stand up for herself and be proud. I make lots of mistakes and am still learning too.”
Domaine Du Sourire is a holiday complex with 4 gites, 3 of which are accessible. It is our vision to make holidays accessible for everyone, a space where you can holiday without feeling judged. Not only do we have 3 accessible gites we have a soft play and a sensory room on site. We welcome those with the so-called hidden disabilities such as Autism, ADHD, learning difficulties to name a very few, this is the main reason the Sensory room was built so a space for kids or adults to go to for a break. This year we are revamping our sensory garden too. Families and individuals, with disability or with no disability, are welcome to enjoy a memorable holiday experience at Domaine Du Sourire.
For more information on Domaine du Sourire please visit our website at www.domainedusourire.com
For more information autism please visit the National Autistic Society’s website www.autism.org.uk/