‘We’re loving the new look’: Stoke Newington Garden School mums go bald for autism
PUBLISHED: 18:16 05 October 2017
Two mums are loving their new look after “going bald for autism” to raise awareness of the condition – so people don’t think their children are “just naughty kids”.
Elaine McKeswick and Ana Carreiro. whose children attend The Garden School. decided to have their locks shaved off on Friday to raise funds for the special needs school in Wordsworth Road, Stoke Newington.
Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Ana, whose 12-year-old son displays “extremely challenging behaviour”, told the Gazette: “When our children have meltdowns it’s usually due to a sensory overload, which means they can’t cope with the environment. It might be light, it might be noise or even things running around like pigeons, because every child is different.
“My child self-harms, although he’s much calmer now. If people aren’t aware they might think he’s just a naughty kid, but actually, no – there are reasons for him to do that. If he doesn’t want to get on the bus it might be because he’s got a belly ache and he’s frustrated.”
While the characteristics of autism vary from one person to another, some autistic people describe how the world feels overwhelming, which can cause considerable anxiety, and understanding and relating to other people can be harder for people with autism.
Ana, 35, from Homerton, added: “Autism comes in very different shapes and sizes. Every child with autism is very unique. You do need to have awareness of all the things that can happen, and we need to treat these children or young adults according to their needs.
“We were quite excited to shave our heads because we thought people would question us about why we’ve done it and we could say: ‘We did it for autism.’ It’s such an ‘in your face’ thing. I was smiling all the way through. We live autism on a daily basis and we are loving the new look.
“People say we’re very brave to have shaved our hair off but really the brave ones are those struggling with autism on a daily basis.” To donate see gofundme.com/going-bald-for-autism-awareness.
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