World Autism Awareness Week: Why I Campaign For Autism Awareness

Judge My Son By His Ability, Not His Disability

Bowie is on the ASD

Fay Hough’s Son Bowie

When you find out you are having a baby, lots of exciting images enter your head such as family holidays, cinema trips, days out, school plays, and everything else that comes along with being parents. These images were quickly erased as my son grew older.

Firstly, I brought my son up alone. I had amazing support from my family but life as a single parent was hard. Secondly, my son wasn’t developing like a neuro-typical child. Thirdly, my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 3 years and 3 months.

I knew nothing about autism, but I educated myself pretty quickly. Upon diagnosis I was told my son may never speak, and I had to prepare myself for that. I was also told he was severely autistic.

He entered specialist education at the age of 3 and continued to specialist nursery and specialist big school. He currently attends a fantastic school, in which he said his first ever word! I was sitting in the audience at his Harvest Festival Assembly and as he entered the room and sat down on his bench he noticed me sitting in the audience. He stood up, pointed and said ‘Mum!’ I cried like a baby, and everyone around me cried too. He did it, he started breaking down the barriers he’d been secluded to during his diagnosis! His Early Years Foundation Skills have risen from age 0-11 months, to 18-26. His favourite subject is maths, and he can now sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’.

Specialist education is a wonderful thing, and I know that his current provision is worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately, not all provisions (mainstream or SEND) are getting the best support. The same goes for NHS services, and the lack of awareness for autism is unreal.

So, I campaign regularly. I set up an Awareness For Autism Facebook page to create awareness and support families in need, I joined the All Party Parliamentary Group For Autism and I also work closely with The National Autistic Society to campaign nationwide.

In summary, I believe the more people speak about autism, the more people who acknowledge this disorder, the more chance my son and the next generation  with ASD have of living in a world where they are judged by their ability and not their disability.

By Fay Hough, Parent and Campaigner

Have you ever considered working with students on the ASD? Did you know you don’t need any specific qualifications? What you need is to be super creative and flexible in the classroom. But having Stage 1 TEAM TEACH can help make you more attractive to employers. So Prospero Teaching is offering the opportunity to win one of 12 free places to teachers or support staff who register with us for SEND work by 30 April ’16 quoting WAAWPT in the text box at the bottom of the webpage.

Did you know Prospero Teaching has a specialist SEND team and that some of our staff have taught and supported students with autism and that we have jobs in mainstream and SEND settings teaching students on the ASD all over England and Wales?

For World Autism Awareness Week we have created a free teaching resource as well as commissioned and written a series of blogs about working with students with Autism you might find interesting.

Are you a parent of a child with autism with experiences you’d like to share here with us?

Do you work in a specialist school and if so why? What would you like to share about your SEND teaching job? Tell us here and help us raise awareness of autism.