Who are Autism All Stars?
‘The most exciting place to discover talent is in yourself.’
Autism All Stars is a positive, forward-thinking UK charity based on the Surrey/Sussex borders and our Registered Charity Number is 1152681. Our intention is to raise awareness of the different manifestations of autism and to offer support and encouragement to all those affected by it. We know exactly how hard it is to raise children with autism, and it’s not something we take lightly at all.
We know about the isolation, the destruction, the physical attacks, the disapproval, the rejection, the emotional roller-coasters, the tears, the guilt and the despair, and that’s precisely why All Stars is run the way it is. We aim to give people something bright, colourful and uplifting to enjoy, not more doom and gloom – presumably they get enough of that already. We offer them somewhere their children are welcome no matter how they behave; somewhere people genuinely understand and accept them; somewhere they can smile and feel just a little less alone.
We organise events that are truly inclusive, where everyone is allowed to shine without judgement, and through these events, we raise funds to help those same people when the darkness closes in.
People on the autism spectrum aren’t all like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, many are more like Tom Cruise’s (who most people don’t even realise is also on the spectrum) so often there’s nothing to see except some eccentric behaviour, meaning it can be hard to understand or detect without the right information and experience.
There’s still so much ignorance of autism and prejudice towards autistic people, but Autism All Stars is not about blame, it’s about enlightening people: shining a light into the darkness surrounding the condition, dissolving the barriers and encouraging people to accept it in all its forms. Dealing with autism and its effects can be dark, lonely and overwhelming, we know that, and the way we raise our funds reflects this. We encourage people to look within themselves and recognise that the things they love and enjoy can be used to raise money.
Everyone has a passion or a talent, although many people have yet to recognise this or to realise how powerful a tool it can be. When it comes to autistic people, that passion may not be something that’s conventionally thought of as a skill, but we believe in thinking WAY outside the box when it comes to uncovering people’s hidden abilities, and this is why: Imagine every experience as a small seed that continues to grow as you go through life. If you know someone with autism, or have autism yourself, you’ll already know just how quick the world is to criticise people for their differences and ridicule their quirks, but at All Stars we choose to celebrate these instead.
If you’re only given negative seeds to plant because your only experiences of being different are negative ones – ones that make you feel bad about yourself and lower your sense of self-worth – you’re very likely to grow up with a negative feeling about who you are and you may well end up trying to fit in by pretending you’re like everyone else. Unfortunately there’s a bit of a problem with this way of thinking – you’re not designed to be like everyone else – you’re designed to be YOU!’
‘You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole’ as the old saying goes. In other words, no matter how hard you try, being the same as everyone else is ultimately going to prove impossible. But here’s an interesting question: What if instead of that being a negative thing, someone, somewhere thought your quirks and specific interests had value?
Imagine everyone on the autism spectrum being able to say: ‘Yes, I am different, and by being different, I’m one of those people who’s made a positive difference in the world.’ That’s what our way of raising funds is designed to help achieve. Our aim is to turn all kinds of unique, individual ways of thinking, feeling and viewing the world into something people can feel proud of; to plant positive seeds and watch them flourish. These small celebrations of who people are can have a massive effect on their quality of life as they grow older, and also on the way the world thinks about autism.
Here are just a few fund raising ideas to inspire you:
If you’re interested in…
* FOOTBALL, get sponsored to see how many times you can kick the ball and hit a specific target in five minutes.
* SPACE, make a mini-planetarium in your house and charge people to come and see it.
* JUMPING, have a trampoline party or a sponsored bounce.
* LEAVES, create an exhibition of leaf-related artwork, charge an entrance fee and sell your work.
* PASTA, have a pasta party and charge money for each meal.
* ART, design some birthday and Christmas cards and sell them for a profit.
* LEGO, ask people to donate theirs to you and build something really amazing, then raffle it.
Local newspapers, radio and TV stations are always interested in people raising money in unusual ways, so get in touch with them and help spread the word about autism. Don’t just talk about it, SHOW people that being autistic is nothing to be afraid of. Let them see how thinking differently can be channeled in some really wonderful, positive ways. Whatever makes you happy, use it. You’ll be surprised at just how bright your light can shine and how good it will make you feel when others notice and applaud you.
Raising the self-esteem of people with autism is hugely important to us, so if you know someone with autism who wants to do something to help us, please support them no matter how strange their idea might seem to be. The amount of money you raise is irrelevant. What’s really important is that you share your stories with us and help other autistic people to feel inspired and empowered by your actions.
“There’s nothing more powerful than enthusiasm and nothing more healing than joy and laughter” – they’re all highly contagious. Autism, of course, is not.
Autism is tough, but it’s not a tragedy or a disease, it’s an opportunity. Autistic people view and explore the world in a new and unique way, and sharing it with them is an adventure not to be missed.
We very much hope you’ll join us and help us to raise funds, awareness and lots of self-esteem along the way.