IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


World Autism Awareness Week: Seeing the World Differently

8 April 2016

World Autism Awareness Week: Seeing the World Differently

To celebrate World Autism Awareness Week, the IOE's Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) has released the film, "Seeing the World Differently." 

The film explores sensory sensitivities and helps us understand what autism feels like by talking to pupils on the autism spectrum at the Hendon Autism Resourced Provision (HARP) within Hendon School in north London. Robyn Steward, Autism and Asperger's trainer, explains that autistic people can see the world differently through their senses, such as taste, smell, touch, sound and sight. 

Sensory sensitivities can have a huge impact on an autistic individual's everyday life. We discover how water from a shower can feel like "mini needles", how unexpected loud sounds can "hurt" and that smooth or soft surfaces can have calming effects.

The video highlights the importance of learning about individual people. As Robyn says, "when you've met one person on the autism spectrum, you've met one person on the autism spectrum - everybody is different."

CRAE's Sensory Sensitivity Film at HARP


This video forms part of CRAE's "Seeing the World Differently" project, which is funded by the Medical Research Council. The project aims to uncover why sensory symptoms often occur in autism. Dr Liz Pellicano and her colleague at the University of Florence, Professor David Burr, have suggested that, when processing sensory information, autistic people may rely more heavily on information from 'the here and now' rather than knowledge gained from previous experience. 

To test this possibility, CRAE research team is giving autistic and non-autistic children, either at the Institute of Education, at home or at school, a series of fun computer-based tasks designed to find out more about how we all 'see the world differently'.

For more details about this study, contact Lenny Neil, Dr Themis Karaminis or Dr Liz Pellicano.

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