International Women’s Day, Saturday March 8 – is a day which celebrates women all over the world, this has been a tradition since the early 1900’s.
Autism Daily Newscast believe that women involved in the autism community should also be celebrated and recognised for their hard work in providing support and advocacy to other women and for being a collective voice.
Women on the autistic spectrum are helping to raise awareness about female autism and the fact that there needs to be better recognition, acceptance and diagnosis. They support each other and together make a formidable force.
The same is true for mothers of autistic children. They too advocate for the needs of their children and help to support other parents who otherwise would be alone.
One such mother is Anna Kennedy OBE, founder of the charity Anna Kennedy Online and passionate autism campaigner who is a voice for other parents out there who have autistic children. At present Anna Kennedy online is conducting the second phase of the Autism Diagnosis in the Uk Survey, which is asking for parents views about the diagnosis process, Anna Kennedy Online is pushing for more consistency in the way that children are diagnosed with ASD.
Anna had the following to say about International Women’s Day:
“I want to acknowledge women whether it be mums or women on the spectrum this International Women’s Day because of my respect and appreciation. I want to acknowledge their achievements within the autism community. Women are an indispensable contribution to society and one can only hope that this recognition will extend into all areas of the wider community. Women I believe are the backbone of families affected by autism.”
Lucy Ellis is a mum to 3 boys and her eldest Alex, 9 is on the autistic spectrum. Lucy is actively involved within the world of parent carers and helps to advocate for other parents out there who have autistic children. She recently helped to organise a parent carer event for local families. Lucy had this to say:
“I became involved with a local group of other parent carers to try and fill the huge gap in provision for other parents that need information, support and guidance on all things additional needs when my family were going through the diagnosis process and told nothing about local services. This was not good enough, so I decided to do something about it. Part of my role includes helping to organise annual fun information days for families in the area to show them what support is available and to also show them that they are not alone. I try to show parents that by going to support groups and using social media that there are many others in the same or similar situations as themselves”.
Many women out there are raising awareness around autism and are trying to make change. Olley Edwards and Monique Blakemore are both co – founders of the group Autism Women Matter. The group consists of 11 women who are all either on the autistic spectrum or involved with working in promoting awareness and understanding for those women who are on the spectrum.The website can be viewed here.
‘Autism Women Matter represents women within the United Kingdom that have been diagnosed or self-identify as being autistic, having an Autism Spectrum Condition. This includes (but is not restricted to) those who have:been diagnosed, struggled to find a professional that understands their ability to ‘mask’ their autism, been unable to access an assessment, self-identified as autistic through their experiences’ Taken from the website
Monique Blakemore is an active campaigner, advocate and coach. She told Autism Daily Newscast.
“Whilst women’s equality has had some positive gains, the world is still unequal. And that is ever so true for autistic women who are marginalised through inadequate recognition, awareness, diagnosis and supports. In 2014 Autism Women Matter have been inspired to lead change for all autistic women and girls in the United Kingdom through incorporating Advocacy, Connection, Education and Empowerment. “
Olley Edwards advocates for females who are both diagnosed and undiagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions, she has undiagnosed Aspergers Syndrome. Olley is a screenwriter, actress and author of the book, ‘Why Aren’t Normal People Normal?’ She had this to say:
“I am proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, women are so strong! They can achieve anything they want and often when the odds are against them. Behind every woman, be it a career, a full time mum, a student, a married woman or a single woman are tales of sheer strength and determination. Tales and ideologies passed down from one generation to the next. The phrase, “old wives tales” really has some truth to it! We learn from each other and as much as our younger years have felt like a cold war against one another when a woman reaches maturity they bond in a way that never seemed possible, to let go of negative gossip in order to be positive and share experiences, to evolve from competing with another to praising and cheering each other on. You see women are strong and even isolated they can achieve, but the real key to the magic is when we get together , when we treat our experiences and goals as a mutual team marathon rather than a school playground race, we can go further . If one needs rest the exhausted encourages the stronger at that time to lead and another helps the “fallen” get back on her feet, for we know at some point that we will need a hand to carry on the race and this makes us true women. We have the capacity to see the bigger picture, to see that we can do great things when we look after one another”
Therefore women all over the world who either care for someone with autism or who have autism should be recognised as the strong, supporting, inclusive collective community that they are. Most importantly they should be celebrated.
Anna Kennedy has this final “tweetable” message:
“Happy #InternationalWomensDay to all women who live with autism and have #autism A HUGE virtual hug from me to you”