The All Stars Model
By its nature, autism is a socially and emotionally isolating condition, and often when people don’t understand themselves or understand anything about autism, they can become isolated by it, making them more likely to suffer with depression. Should this go untreated and they resort to suicide, it can create a vicious circle for the people left behind. The stigma attached to suicide and the general misconceptions about autism can lead to feelings of isolation for loved ones, which can very easily turn into depression and even other suicides.
The Vicious Circle
At All Stars, we strive to replace this vicious circle with a virtuous one. Giving people information about autism that doesn’t scare them, but rather makes them feel understood and accepted, is a hugely important part of what we do.
Whether people are formally diagnosed or not is a purely personal choice, and what we aim for is simply to give people the support they need to make that choice without fear.
The Virtuous Circle
So, what are we doing to create these virtuous circles?
First and foremost our work is about raising awareness of autism, and this is why:
We aim to raise awareness in people who, for whatever reason, have missed their diagnosis and are struggling to understand themselves and their own behaviour patterns, and also amongst people who know very little or even nothing at all about autism, thereby helping the public to understand and accept autistic people right across the spectrum, while helping autistic people to feel more accepted and less alone.
The events we organise are specifically designed to bring all the different members of a family together and get everyone involved, thereby reducing isolation within the family unit. We also aim to bring different families with different life experiences together for mutual support, encouragement and the sharing of ideas, thereby reducing the social isolation that can be caused by fear or misinterpretation of the behaviour of people with autistic spectrum conditions.
We include everyone in our work, and encourage them all to find their talents; equally we encourage people from all walks of life to look beyond what’s usually considered a talent and learn to appreciate the specific skills that autism can bring, thereby raising the self-esteem of people on the spectrum and helping them to feel more confident about joining in with others, again reducing any feelings of isolation they might have.
The All Stars Model
Our primary message is that people who are different are no less valuable than anyone else, and that being different is nothing to be afraid of.
We celebrate people’s differences and aim to help others do the same.
We’re passionate about including everyone in our work, from people with no autism in them at all, to those most profoundly affected by it.
Most importantly, everything we do is designed to raise the self-esteem of everyone involved. No matter how profoundly autism affects someone, we believe they can still feel valued and wanted, and that they have something to contribute to the world. Are we saying that with the right encouragement every autistic person will grow up into Albert Einstein? Of course not. How many people without autism grow up into ground breaking physicists? Not many, that’s for sure.
In fact the only parents on the planet whose child was ever going to grow up into Albert Einstein, were Einstein’s parents themselves, and this is absolutely as it should be. We are all unique, and designed to be that way, whether we’re on the autism spectrum or not. What we’re saying is that everyone has value and that everyone deserves the chance to shine in their own way.
We hope that through our work people will recognise these different values, however strange they might appear to be at first, and allow autistic people to contribute to a world that has so often written them off, or overlooked them entirely in the past.