What is autism?
Autism is a neurological and developmental disability, which affects how a person communicates and experiences the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which affects people in different ways. Autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like all people.
There are a range of difficulties autistic people may face. This includes, but not limited to:
- finding communication and interactiing with other people hard
- Struggling to understand how people think or feel
- having an over-or under- sensitivity to light, sound, taste or touch, which can leave an autistic person feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable
- feelings of anxiety or upset surrounding unfamiliar situations and social events
- increased processing time
- suffering from meltdowns and shutdowns when everything becomes too much - this can be a very intense and exhausting experience
Every individuals experience of autism is different. Therefore, one autistic person may not neccesarily present autism in the same as anotherr autistic person.
The diagnostic process
For more information on the diagnoistic process: the NHS website, as well as the National Autistic Society provide in-depth inforrmation.
What is autism awareness month?
Autism Awareness month happens in April of every year. It is a time where people come together to help provide individuals with an opportunity to learn about autism, as well as ways in whcih they can support their friends and family. It also provides individuals with information to sseek support and/or diagnosis, and where they can find this support.
Here at the SU, we wanted to celebrate autism awarenesss month, so that we can share our student's stories and continue our work towards making Solent Univeristy a more inclusive enviroment.
What is the SU doing for autism awareness month?
As part of autism awareness month, the SU is continuing to provide a platform for autistic students to voice their thoughts about what being autistic is like for them. Students can submit their responses in a varitey of ways, for example, writing, video, an image or photo, a piece of art, song, word or even colour!
To sumbit your response, please fill in the form here.
The SU has also created a space for students to freely talk about the sensory room and their opinions on this. We feel that the sensory room is an amazing space on campus, and we would love to see more money put forward to improve the space. We have even created a petition for students to voice their opinions to Access Solent.
To sign the petition, please click here to sign.
How can you be an ally to autistic people this April (and year round)?
Being an ally is all about learning and standing up for issues that affect the autistic community, even if they don't directly affect you.
Some ways in which you can help the autistic community are as follows:
- amplify autistic voices
- respecting identify first language
- respecting personal space
- avoid using functional labels
- learn about 'masking'
- support autistic people in being their true individual self
- promote autism acceptance
How does the university support those who are autistic?
Access solent is the university's disability support service, which aims to remove barriers and support students to reach their full academic potential.
For more information on how they can help you, click here!
There is also a sensory room on campus. This is a space that both staff and students can use, which provides a calming, sensory environment if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed.