What is the Super Powers project?
Lydia, Hackney Education’s Specialist Teacher for autism, started an online forum for young people with autism during lockdown.
For 2021’s Autism Awareness Week the forum and pupils in Hackney schools were invited to take part in a project called ‘Super Powers’.
Young people have been invited and encouraged to submit projects that express what being autistic means to them.
The project focuses on showcasing particular strengths or what we are calling for this project 'Super Powers'.
Children and young people across Hackney who are also autistic took part or submitted work as part of this project.
Their work will be showcased at an online event and available afterwards to raise awareness of autism and the need for it to be celebrated and better understood in wider society.
What were the young people asked to do for this project?
To help inspire young people wanting to take part, examples from those in the global autism community were shared.
- Film and documentary inspiration - Listen to Greta Thunberg talk about how her autism is her superpower and has helped her see clearly what needs to change in people’s attitudes to the climate crisis. Hear to Talia Grant talking about how autism affected her experience of being at school. Look at other examples of short films made by young people with autism and their brothers or sisters.
- Poems and poetry for inspiration - Write an acrostic poem about autism or a shape poem that paints a picture of your talent or interest.For inspiration from other autistic poets see ‘The Spectrum Poems’ and read examples from ‘Actually Autistic Poets’.
- Art and creative practice inspiration - Draw and decorate your own superhero to show your particular strengths or superpowers. Explore Autistic Artists as inspiration for making your own work and exploring your creativity.
- Music, songs, rap and spoken word inspiration - If you're into music you might want to make a song or rap to share. Listen to Robyn Steward for inspiration or see rock band The AutistiX, Suzanne Boyle Britain’s Got Talent winner and Dave Byrne in Talking Heads.
Any young people inspired by these ideas and suggestions can of course share anything they have made even after this project with their family, friends, teachers and us - we are always interested.
How were young people invited to take part?
An open invitation was sent to those with an autism diagnosis through local schools, services and through parents and carers. We also shared information about this opportunity through our Local Offer.
Who shared creative work for the Super Powers project?
The ‘Super Powers’ project for Autism Awareness week 2021 is aimed at children with an understanding of what their diagnosis means. The newish Autism Online Young People’s Forum members have submitted work but any young people who are autistic were encouraged to take part. Younger children were also welcomed to get involved with support from their parents or carer.
How can we see the work young people have submitted?
The online event will be held during Autism Awareness Week, submissions will be published online and shared with partners across Hackney to help promote better understanding of the lived experience of autism in the wider community.
Keep searching below to see the inspiring, moving, insightful and creative submissions from young people in Hackney who want more people to know what autism feels like and means to them.
Now over to the young people who have written poems, made films and artwork for this project.
Happy Autism Awareness Week!
When someone asked me how was your day
I used to mask and say it was ok
But deep down I use to cry
and question myself why
It started when I was in secondary school
Where children use to think its cool
To make fun of others and call them a fool
Words are just words
But it hurt inside
It used to play on my mind
Didn't have anyone to trust and confide
All I wanted to do was fit in
I even put on a smile and grin
I tried so hard to be in a crew
But nobody would ever let me come through
Birds of a feather flock together
But I could never relate
Back then I never had at least one good mate
Fighting my own demons alone
Not a friend in sight that I could phone
It was like holding unto a rescue rope
But I couldn’t even cope anymore
Fighting the invisible war
Hearing voices, I tried my best to ignore
this was all because of my experience before
When school finished that opened a door
Life got better at the end
I end up making two good friend
That don’t just ask to borrow and lend
There was no longer any need to pretend
To try and fit in and blend
Walking to college in the sunlight
Not to see a bully in sight
Instead of flight I chose to fight
And I strived with all my might
Life is light at the end of the tunnel
There’s going to be obstacles and you may struggle
Eventually you will get through
There will be a bigger picture that you can view
So Hold your head high
And you will transform, from a caterpillar to a butterfly
Poem by unknown A
What is autism?
- Autism is a condition which affects people’s understanding of the world and communication with others.
- 7 in 100 people have Autism
- People with Autism are usually good at focusing on detail
- I am good at puzzles
- I have intelligence related to numbers
- I am good at maths
- I am friendly and creative
- I am very neat
Things I find difficult:
- Making friends
- I really like to know what’s going to happen and when
- I find it hard to understand what people mean
What’s important to me?
- Time on my own to chill out
- Having regular breaks
Autism is my Super Power because…
- I can focus for a really long time on things I like
- It makes me have original ideas
Some famous people with Autism:
- Artist Stephen Witshire
- Scientist Albert Einstein
I love to draw, I’m good at it,
And memorising favourite lyrics -
Of any song I only hear once.
And then i’ll sing it for months and months.
And I draw and draw, or make some models,
And make a film or animation,
I have a very good imagination.
My superpower is my art, and people say I’m very smart.
When I was young I learned to fly
I still do this, I don’t know why.
I do know that it makes me happy - i’m always happy when i’m flapping.
I can disappear from any trouble, inside a world that is my bubble.
A world I made and dream and draw
It opens up a secret door, of images inside my head
I replay when I lie in bed.
I am Woody
King Theseus fighting a Giant Lizard from Lenny's illustrated presentation for Autism Awareness Week
Given - Autism and me illustrated presentation
“I like to draw original characters - small with lots of detail. Mistakes are okay because mistakes give me more ideas for what to draw next!”
De Beauvoir School - Year 6 Pupil