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      The “invisible” spectrum & allied conditions

             The Halfling Project

There are sadly many people out there, including those in the medical, education and child support roles who simply don’t accept or choose to ignore the existence of autism in what by all accounts is a “normal” looking child.

This was also the problem for those diagnosed with dyslexia in the early days of reluctant acceptance that the condition of “word blindness” might actually exist.

This is where my interest in “invisible conditions” in childhood began. This happened to be the time when the actress Susan Hampshire and the BBC combined to give publicity to the condition, and start the long haul to eventual acceptance of the condition.

The Halfling project began as a project to build on and promote understanding and acceptance of the many conditions broadly headed as ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Even today [2015] many schools ignore pupils blindly suffering within the spectrum or allied conditions, many young offenders are imprisoned without their autistic condition or mental state being taken fairly and fully into account - many parents are left dazed hurt and confused by children who act in ways they don’t understand.

It’s important to note that many autistic children are highly creative and certainly not unintelligent, but often their lack of social skills or strange [to others] obsessions make them targets for bullying and social retraction.

My work with young performers led me to find just how many actors are on the spectrum.

Where halfling is set to make the point it is towards disability where it is not evident by physical appearance - by all accounts the boy [or girl] looks normal - but just acts differently, lacks coordination , cannot read aloud or anyone of the many problems and hurdles they may face.

Ask many people about what a boy with autism looks like  they will think of those with Downs Syndrome and a distinctive look - hopefully the images here will show otherwise. Many children actually are never diagnosed with ASD and go on to adult life suffering because of this.

I wish to also stress that I include within this work conditions not on the spectrum, but where levels of misunderstanding and blindness still apply. This can be gender issues, sexuality, or almost any condition which singles someone out - or which is not easily evident - such as depression or suicidal thoughts, general mental health issues which may or may not be placed at the ASD door.

From photography through written explanation to audio/video presentation The Halfling Project strives to keep explanation simple and non academic .

The use of long words and medical terms  has it’s place - and many of the links will take you there - but The Halfling Project aims to provide simple explanation and visual illustration.

At times this can and will result in simplistic explanation which gets the point across but may to academics be deemed to simplistic .

However I defend this approach for it’s target audience from children up - as there are people way more qualified than me to explain cognitive theory and such like.

Here the aim is to  state in simple terms  the impact and consequences, the discovery and acceptance - and provide understanding for those who know they are different  but not know why , or confused families or individuals coming to terms with children who are that bit different, or have special needs.

[C] The Halfling Project 2015