LETTER: Autism - it’s time to reclaim the word ‘normal’

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As vice chairman of Ambitious about Autism’s Youth Council, I am asking your readers to support young people with autism during this April’s World Autism Awareness Month to reclaim the word “normal”.

Our experience is people tend to over use the word “normal”. They suggest it’s something young people with autism aren’t and somehow not being “normal” is wrong.

Young people with autism should be appreciated for who they are and not what others may want them to be.

Each of us has our own habits and quirks which make us who we are; to expect everyone to act the same is unhelpful. However, we, like everyone else, can sometimes become unwell and this causes a change in our habits – a departure from our normal – which could be an indication that all is not well.

Ambitious about Autism’s Youth Council have developed a tool kit to help young people, whether they are autistic or not, to describe what their “normal” looks like to others. We hope this will help them and those people closest to them, notice when something changes and make it easier to get help when it’s needed.

You can find the tool kit at www.knowyournormal.co.uk

Please show your support during World Autism Awareness Month by tweeting your unique habits using the hashtag #knowyournormal to show what your normal is and so help us to celebrate our differences.

Jack Welch

Ambitious about Autism