In today’s pandemic-induced, mask wearing world we lose a number of nonverbal cues that guide us in our everyday interactions and that can make it more difficult to ‘read’ people. It could be said that it gives us a fleeting glimpse into parts of the autistic world. The reality is it is incredibly difficult for people who are not autistic to truly appreciate and understand the autistic world, in part due to the diversity of individuals with autism; as we say, “if you’ve met one autistic person you have only met ONE autistic person”.
The autistic community also has diverse opinions; we also recognise that many are not able to give opinions. NNF is start-up charity trying to make a difference. I co-founded it because I have an autistic daughter and I am also a biotech executive and investor. I can see that there are numerous, innovative technologies that can’t get to market because they can’t compete in the current financing ecosystem.
NNF searches for and funds innovative tools and treatments that can help those who are autistic or their care givers in order to make their lives easier. For clarity, we are not promoting a “cure” for autism (even it that was possible) but rather to provide support for the conditions that may accompany autism for some people – e.g. epilepsy, agitation, lack of sleep, dysregulated behaviours, GI distress and tendency to wander – to name a few. These co-morbidities can be very challenging and disruptive but are addressable and new tools or treatments could improve the quality life for many. From a personal viewpoint, these approaches will help my daughter and her friends who suffer from them.
Recognizing that there are some people with autism who need access to new tools – or treatments – does not mean that we don’t also recognize or respect those in the autism community who are able to live full, rewarding lives without these treatments. We are all unique.
We at NNF celebrate uniqueness, inclusion and acceptance. We believe it makes society much richer and we all have something to give and something to learn from each other and we promote and celebrate diversity.