April is World Autism Awareness Month. . . Aware of what?
Author addresses "What might surprise the public about autism?"
"We need to be able to see the world through the lens of autism. Awareness is autism vision. When we step into the shoes, our thinking changes," Hedley explains.
What might surprise the public about autism?
Everything you see is a reaction to the environment. Hopping and rocking and shouting and flapping are pure reaction. "What you see is not poor behaviour. . . it's good communication."
Autism vision tells us that what we see is "active coping," a reaction to an environment that is overloaded with too: too bright, too loud, too crowded, too smelly, too fragrant, too cold, too vague. Too many toos tilt us.
We all regulate to our environment, all the time. Those with autism experience the sensory world intensely, often ten-fold. Self-regulation is difficult. "It's a spectrum of coping," says Hedley.
The pandemic has demonstrated what happens when the environment shifts, how we scramble to manage change and uncertainty. This is what it feels like to have autism: constant coping.
Hedley has devoted her adult life to puzzling out autism. Her memoir reflects her curiosity and openness to celebrating what makes us different—and the humanness that unites us.
Former anchor and chief correspondent of CBC's The National, Peter Mansbridge, states, "There are a lot of lessons on these pages for all of us, and we can benefit from considering them—and acting upon them."
Hedley has lived in many parts of Canada—and the world, allowing a unique perspective. Canadian Armed Forces Director of Military Family Service, Colonel Telah Morrison, calls Hedley's storytelling " . . . pure brilliance."
The Hon. Mike Lake, international autism advocate, writes, "Teresa is a gifted storyteller. . . overall a masterful blend of humour and authenticity."
"Awareness is like handing out catcher's mitts," says Hedley. "It helps us to know what to do and how to receive and understand a person with autism. We become enablers—and we are all better for it."
Canadian Parliamentarian and astronaut Marc Garneau expresses his gratitude: "Thank you to the Hedley family for inviting us to see the world through the complex and intriguing lens of autism."
What's Not Allowed? A Family Journey with Autism.
Retail Price: $25.95
Available from Indigo/Chapters/
Hedley is currently booking media interviews.
Page Updated Last on: Mar 31, 2021