Autism – most of us have heard of autism and a fair amount of us probably think we know what is meant by the term autism, but do we? There are a huge range of issues faced by people with autism and one of the problems causing difficulty is a lack of understanding amongst the wider public which is where World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) comes in. Brought into being by the National Autistic Society (NAS) to highlight World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, WAAW, which runs 27 March – 2 April 2017, aims to further raise awareness and understanding in public attitudes.
This year, the charity is being helped with it’s annual campaign by up and coming music duo The Beautiful Secret, whose new single, What’s Inside, is the anthem for World Autism Awareness Week:
Released tomorrow, the song shows ‘what’s inside’ Katie-Rae, shown in the video. Katie’s aunt, Rachael Hawnt, is one half of The Beautiful Secret (alongside Ashley Cutler) and after hearing Katie say that “no one ever listens to me”, wrote What’s Inside in response. Rachael said about Katie-Rae, “she has autism and learning difficulties and had many fears and phobias from the get-go. She has struggled with social situations and depression all of her life, but she is still a strong and loving person with a fantastic artistic flare and a big, big heart. We wanted to write a song to help raise funds and awareness for autistic people. The first person I went to talk to was Katie-Rae; I told her I wanted to write about the way she felt, a real perspective from a real autistic child.”
The fundraising and awareness aspect of teaming up with the National Autistic Society came later and is something that Katie-Rae herself feels very proud of. Speaking this week, Katie said “I’m not brave enough to get the word out there myself so my aunt is doing it for me…it makes me happy that it’s going to help people”.
Highlighting understanding is the key to both this song and this year’s World Autism Awareness Week and Katie-Rae’s own words encapsulate perfectly the issues she and many other autistic people face on a daily basis. Speaking about school, Katie told me that
No one cared how we felt, people thought we were crazy. We’re not crazy, we’re just different. People didn’t really understand, even the teachers, until Miss Young helped us explain to the other teachers how we feel and how we think.
The fundraising head of NAS, Kate Donohue, agreed that “very often, young autistic people felt that no one ever listened to them”, which is why the song is so powerful. To have Katie-Rae appearing in a video highlights just how powerful the song is – and also shows how brave this young lady is, despite what she thinks.
What’s Inside, by The Beautiful Secret, supporting the National Autistic Society is available here:
All proceeds go to NAS.
Click here to find out more about the fundraising and awareness work of the National Autistic Society.
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