World Autism Week 2018

26th March 2018 |

Autism is not a learning disability, it is a condition that affects how an individual both interacts with, interprets and experiences the world around them. Some people that have a diagnosis of autism may also have additional support needs relating to their learning disability, additional physical health needs or Mental Health Support.

A diagnosis of autism does not define who a person is, it is simply part of who they are and impacts on how they experience the world around them and how they relate and interact with others and manage life on a day to day basis. A person who has autism sees and hears the world in a different manner to someone who doesn’t have autism. As with everyone, no two people with autism are the same. Autism is often spoken about as a condition which is on a spectrum. In practice this means that individuals may experience similar experiences, but how they actually affect them differs tremendously and also how they manage these experiences is very unique to them as an individual.

They say ‘If you've met one person with autism, that is exactly that, you have met one person with autism' No two people with autism are the same, each is unique, both in the way they see and live within the world and each individual has something unique to share with the world around them. Many people living with autism don’t like the feeling of their lives not being in their control and the thought that they do not have a voice; World Autism Week is trying to break down these barriers.

World Autism Week starts today in the lead up to World Autism Day on April 2nd.  It is a week where individuals, work places, schools etc can raise the profile of autism and the work of the National Autistic Society. World Autism Week is also a great opportunity to raise funds in order to help campaigns such as #toomuchinformation #AutismTMI. Campaigns such as this are important in making others realise that by understanding the way others view the world can help so much more than offering prejudgements and therefore dismissing the individual as not being able to contribute just because they feel and see things differently.

Many people who have autism get frustrated that their condition negatively impacts on their life, the number of positives gained from being on the spectrum are often overlooked.  

Many people living with autism:

  •    Are often extremely thorough and accurate. 
  •    Cannot often be distracted and therefore have overly high levels of concentration. 
  •    Are analytically minded and can see patterns and repetitive systems quickly in order to solve or act upon. 
  •    Retain knowledge and facts with ease that can be recalled upon long term. 

Many successful people from history to present day have lived with autism or suspected to have been on the spectrum. People such as Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Michelangelo, Steve Jobs, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, Daryl Hannah and Ladyhawke to name but a few. Many have spoken of the way in which autism has enhanced their lives when others can get past the label placed upon them.


At Future Directions, we don’t look at the diagnosis, we focus on the individual. We enable all people who we support to have a voice and have control of their own support. Being a values based organisation, we live out our values by making a positive difference to people's lives. Employees are trained to support specific individuals, not a condition, this has led to large amounts of praise by employees providing support, as it enhances their experience and understanding of the person’s needs much more easily.

We have invested in an Autism Lead and PBS Lead (Positive Behaviour Support) in order to enhance knowledge and training of all staff. Their role is to provide training, advice and support for staff to equip them to enable the people they support who have autism to manage the society we live in and develop strategies to enable them to fully experience life.

A person centred approach allows all individuals to feel they are not just a person living with a condition. Their life is one which is highly valued and with the right sort of support, all those who are diagnosed as being on the spectrum, can live a fulfilling life in the way they choose.


“Autism … offers a chance for us to glimpse an awe-filled vision of the world that might otherwise pass us by.” - Dr. Colin Zimbleman, Ph.D.


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