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Art Class



Mandy Cook

Mandy Cook is an influential figure in Autism on Facebook, instagram, YouTube and Tiktok as The Autistic Teacher with over 100,000 followers on Facebook, sharing information and insights to a wider audience. 


Mandy is a teacher, speaker, trainer and consultant in autism with over 20 years experience working with Autistic children and adults. As a full time mainstream teacher, specialised in Autism and challenging behaviour, Mandy set up a specialised learning environment and spent some time as acting SENCO. 


As a mum to 4 children, 3 of whom have an Autism diagnosis. Mandy explains that this is where her knowledge was really put to the test and where the learning really began! Mandy remembers that her children were handed a diagnosis and very little support was available. That’s when Mandy decided to be an advocate for her children and others! 


Mandy won Autism Professional award in 2018 as Chair of the National Autistic Society Dartford and Gravesham branch while being involved in Parliamentary consultations around Autism. 


Mandy is founder and CEO of Autism South East supporting Autistic people and their families throughout the South East through information talks, support groups, children’s activities and events. 


Mandy self identified as Autistic after her children were diagnosed and was able to get an official diagnosis later in life. Mandy believes that there are many barriers to the assessment process, especially for women and minority groups and that our current understanding and criteria should be updated. 

Mandy says, 'Now is the time for autistic understanding and acceptance. Autistic people are amazing! We have so many strengths that are often hyperfocus and extensive knowledge of certain subjects, many have excellent memory skills, attention to detail and a different perspective, honest and a strong sense of justice, forgiving and accepting, critical or logical thinking… these are just a few of the incredible traits that we see.’   

‘Autism, ADHD, dyslexia and more, all make our world a better place! Diversity in every way should be celebrated. I believe as a society we need to be more accepting of each other. I love being autistic. It makes me, me. Why must we continually ask people to conform, to be the same? We should be proud of our differences. People need to know, that if they feel different, they are not broken, they are not ‘less’ than someone else, they are awesome, just the way they are.’  Mandy Cook. 

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