The Much Misunderstood Autism Spectrum

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You may have come across the message declaring that

Autism is not a disease. Don’t try to cure us. Try to understand us.

On the other hand, the information available on AUTISM is unmistakably within the context of SPECIAL EDUCATION and, therefore, subject to the diagnosis of psychologists and other educational and medical professionals.

Any simple Google image search, for instance, throws up a vast number of diagrams describing what should be included, for instance, on the Autism Spectrum.  One of the most informative pages we found was AUTISM INFOGRAPHICS ON PINTEREST which curates a wonderful array of depictions of the condition and the issues around it. The page is maintained by the Autism Society Of America.

What a great resource the infographics could be, for instance, as part of a strategy for stimulating discussions in staff meetings.  OK… there’s a little American jargon that needs to be understand which in reality amounts to two things: understanding that

  • I/DD stands for Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.
  • IDDW stands forIntellectual Developmental Disabilities Waiver, the local government schemes that provide community-based services to people who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who would otherwise qualify for placement in an institutional setting.

Example Infographic Open For Discussion At Staff Meeting

1. Services provided in natural settings, such as the home and community vs institutions.

The infographic shows the trend from institutionalised care to family and community-based care. Discuss the following:

  • What are the negative aspects of ‘hiding away’ children and adults in institutions?
  • What are the challenges for families and communities when integrating children and adults with special needs?

2.What does the infographic show about the costs of institutionalised care compared to family and community-based care?

ASA is trying to make a case for showing that family and community-based care is much more cost-effective. Discuss the following:

  • What kinds of help do families need in order to deal with children with Autism?
  • What kinds of help do families need in order to deal with adult dependents with Autism?

Growing Awareness & Tolerance



The UK’s equivalent to the USA’s Autism Society Of America, The National Autistic Society,  also maintains a well-resourced website which offers educators valuable information on Autism. We want to bring to our readers’ attention its awareness-raising  Schools’ Autism Awareness Week. We have displayed the booklet available to all schools on activities and promotions – and dare we say it, FUN! This is the inaugural event and we certainly want to wish them much success.

We’ve also had a look through the teaching resources they’ve created and we can’t recommend them highly enough.



We’ll demonstrate particularly exercises and activities in further blogs.


Ral is Executive Director of Insight Africa UK a company registered in England and Wales to provide Educational Services. She holds a Masters degree from University of Leeds UK and University of Nigeria Nsukka. She also works part time with a City Council in the UK Our Aim: Every Child in Learning, Every School Outstanding Every Teacher Achieving

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