Who knows better about autism than the parents who look after autistic children?

Little Heroes ASD Support is made up of dedicated parent volunteers who have championed their children, and on occasion had to fight the system, for support and in order to get their voices heard.

The Westcliff based support group used Autism Awareness and Acceptance Week as a chance to dispel some myths about autism.

They placed ten eye-catching autism myth busting banners around Southend.

Chloe Fazakerley, marketing manager for Little Heroes ASD, said: “There are so many myths around autism, we thought it was the perfect time to set these straight”.

Chelsea Short and her partner Tom have experienced first-hand people misunderstanding autism.

Their son Lenny is autistic and sometimes people have commented on his behaviour.

Chelsea said: “We have had some horrible things said to us in the past. We love going to Center Parcs, we were there one time, and my son Lenny doesn’t eat at the table, however, he loves joining us for dinner. He will sit there having a lovely time, sometimes he will get up and he makes noise, but that is just Lenny.

“One time we were there and at dinner, and he had got some serviettes, and started ripping them up and being noisy. The people behind us were shaking their heads and tutting.

“They have no idea. I used to tell people straight away he had autism when he was being noisy, but nowadays I don’t. People are going to have their opinions and it is not down to me to changed them. I think society needs to change how it views autistic children, and also, be more accepting generally.”

Chelsea and her family adore Little Heroes ASD Support and everything they have done for them.

“The charity is so supportive, and, for example we know that Easter holidays are sorted for us because we can go to the autism friendly activities and siblings are welcome,” said Chelsea.

“Little Heroes is a wonderful charity, and they are so helpful in so many ways.”




Kay Howell wants to dispel the myth that people with autism won’t be successful in life and hold down a career.

Her husband Tim has autism, and he is technical service manager for Stobart and her son Henry also has autism.

Kay said: “A myth I would like to break is that people with autism won’t be successful and have a good job, but my husband is proof that is not the case. My husband Tim has autism and he is highly intelligent.

“My husband only got diagnosed in his thirties and he had been labelled a noisy disruptive kid at school. Nowadays we know more about autism and support children in school.”

Kay has dedicated a lot of time to learning about autism, and herself as a neurotypical person, so that she can be the best support for them both.

“I am a neurotypical person and it has taken me time to understand how people with autism are, and once you understand, it all makes sense. I am a believer in self-development, it means that I can be understanding and supportive to my son Henry.”


Echo: Bright future - Kay and her son HenryBright future - Kay and her son Henry


The ten myths about autism that are not true:

Myth 1, everyone’s a little autistic. False. Everyone has autistic traits at different times to a certain extent. But you are only autistic if your brain is built that way.

Myth 2 autism is a mental health condition. False. Autism is a cognitive difference between people. It should not be viewed as a flaw or problematic and does not need to be treated. It is simply a difference.

Myth 3. Autism mainly affects children. False. People are autistic all of their lives.

Myth 4. All autistic people have learning difficulties. False. Many autistic people have learning difficulties, some may require extra support, however, most of all there is a need for patience and understanding.

Myth 5. Autistic people do not feel empathy. False. Autistic people feel empathy the same as everyone else, however, they may not demonstrate their empathy in the way you would expect.

Myth 6. All autistic people are the same. False. The autism spectrum is broad, and no two people share the exact same traits.

Myth 7. You can tell someone is autistic by looking at them. False. Autism does not have a look, nor does it have visible identifying characteristics.

Myth 8. Autistic people like to be on their own, they are anti-social. False. Autistic people do find socialising more tiring, particularly if trying to blend in. However, this is not being anti-social. Myth 9. Autism was not around much when I was at school. False. It may have been that there was not much awareness at that time and people did not recognise autism was there.

Myth 10. Autism can be cured. False. It is not an illness. You cannot cure or grow out of autism. There will be events during the week.

For further information please visit www.littleheroesasd.co.uk.