I am a parent/ carer
We wanted to share some information so you knew a bit more about us and how we aim to support both you and your children in our community.
What is our view on autism?
In most spaces and places autism is seen as a negative thing. If you Google autism, you see websites and articles focused on 'treating' and 'reducing symptoms' of autism. In a lot of online spaces, the word autism is used as an insult. Even in most educational and health settings autism is seen as something to try and fix/ change.
But Spectrum Gaming proves that most people are wrong. Autism is not a 'disorder' or a 'burden', it is simply a difference. Just like every other brain type (yes, that includes 'normal' brains too!), the autistic brain has its negatives and things that make life more difficult. But autistic brains also have many positives that others may never have the opportunity to experience.
The key to happiness for everyone is to focus on your positives, and then either working on or making adjustments for the difficulties that you experience. The difficulty is, the world is made for the 80% of people who are neurotypical ("normal"), and the other 20% of people (with neurotypes which include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette's Syndrome and more) are expected to conform to a world that is not made for them, meaning in most environments you don't get much opportunity to show your true strengths or prove your potential.
Even when autistic young people are struggling in school, feel misunderstood by others or are struggling with day to day anxieties, we know each and every one of them is brilliant, they just may not have had the opportunity to prove it yet.
There is another big difficulty autistic people face, which is that most people are afraid of difference (especially other young people). If you have an interest that is different from most, you may be judged for it. If you have sensory differences or are feeling anxious, people often lack empathy and put you through difficult experiences that you are not ready for. If you talk, act or behave in a different way, people may misunderstand or mistreat you because of their own ignorance or insecurities.
As you can see, most of the difficulties that are faced by autistic people aren't caused by autism, but by society itself. The happiest, most successful autistic people are the ones who have embraced their differences, despite what they have been told by others. Rather than trying to 'fit in' and be like everyone else, they have focused on living a life that works for them, where they can focus on their strengths and be around others who embrace and encourage difference. Famous people like Eminem, Satoshi Tajiri (the creator of Pokémon), Henry Cavendish (scientist), Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) and many more are all autistic, have faced huge challenges and have overcome them while remaining authentic and letting the world see how amazing they are, despite what society tells people who are different.
At Spectrum Gaming, we want to prove to young people that who they are is ok. They can be themselves, but still develop meaningful connections and achieve what they would like to. Not just is our community a space where young people can be themselves, but it is run by passionate autistic adults who can hopefully prove our message to young people and give them hope for the future. As we said earlier, every autistic young person is brilliant and can achieve amazing things, even if they don't believe it right now while they are trying to survive in a world that is not made for us.
What do we advocate for?
While we have key values and ideas we aim to promote amongst young people with Spectrum Gaming, one important thing for us is that everyone is able to unite through gaming, despite any beliefs or ideals they or their family members might have.
But through Spectrum Gaming, we are able to advocate for autistic young people who are often unheard, so we ensure they are given a platform to talk about autism, what it means to them and what changes they would like to see in how they are supported and understood. We believe autistic young people's voices are the most important, which is why we focus on sharing their voices.
If you would like access to different information and support around autism, there are a variety of groups, websites and resources that we would recommend:
Studio 3 - Studio 3 are the leading consultants in crisis management training, physical interventions and de-escalation. Studio 3 focuses on the Low Arousal Approach, which puts the onus on the people around the child to change their behaviour, in order to meet their needs, rather than putting the onus on them. This is the approach Spectrum Gaming uses to support members of our community.
Autism Inclusivity - a Facebook group where autistic adults share their insight into supporting autistic children with parents/ carers.
Neuroclastic - A website where autistic people share their insight into autism through blogs/ resources/ content.
Aucademy - A team of talented Autistic people with a wide range of skills & experience. They love researching about and educating on Autistic & neurodivergent experience for Autistic & non-autistic learners.
Thinking Person's Guide to Autism - Autism news and resources: from autistic people, professionals, and parents
Beacon House - Unfortunately many autistic people suffer from trauma or adversity as a result of negative experience they have experienced. Beacon House is a fantastic organisation that offers support and shares free resources on this.