Timmy the Turtle is a story written by Richard Habelrih, a young man on the autism spectrum. Richard transforms his experiences growing up with constant bullying into a story that inspires friendship and inclusion.
Originally presented to children as a puppet show, Timmy the Turtle has been re-imagined into an endearing animation with a powerful anti-bullying message.
Timmy knows he doesn’t quite fit in but is confused why. He cannot understand why he finds life so hard. Whether it be in the ocean or on land, Timmy struggles to fit in and make friends.
Rejection after rejection teaches Timmy and his friend Danny, lessons in leadership and that there is empowerment in kindness.
Timmy learns it’s ok to be different, and that all it takes is one person to step up and form a true-blue connection that will lead tons to spark a valuable friendship.
The story is re-created by script-writer Sarah Hope and lovingly produced by Maitree House. All the voice over artists, and many of the illustrators, are on the Autism Spectrum.
Children, adults and families living with autism will tell you that being included in everyday life can be a challenge.
Without realising it, or meaning to, invisible walls can be created in social activities with our friends on the spectrum, through lack of understanding.
Confusion around language, communication and social interpretation are the most common. Autistic children (and adults) may need extra effort processing and expressing their thoughts and feelings. A few other characteristics may include speech impairment, sensory overload, or difficulty regulating emotions.
In reverse, neurotypical children without meaning to, may misinterpret behaviour difficulties or missed social cues of their peers on the autism spectrum.
In simple terms, autistic people read people differently, and neurotypical people read autistic people differently. True intentions can be lost or misread.
Awareness and education of these challenges create patience, understanding and compassion. Knowledge provides space for those on the spectrum to adjust to their environment and enhance connection with their peers.
This valuable guide is researched and written by Emily Hanlon, Clinical Psychologist, BA Arts (Psychology). PostGradDip (Psych). Mpsych (Clinical). Assoc. MAPS
It’s a classroom resource for teachers to help explore the themes of kindness, leadership, acceptance of diversity. To create education, awareness and understanding. A platform for developing strategies and methods for autistic and non-autistic students, workmates, and our wider community to foster connection and acceptance.
Autism MATES is an initiative motivated with the desire to make a positive impact to those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
MATES is an acronym that stands for Mates Assisting To Engage Socially.
Autism MATES is based in Australia: We are Australian, and Australia’s DNA is built on the values of ‘mateship’. This doesn’t stop at those with ASD.
Timmy the Turtle and Autism MATES work towards shifting the perspective of Autism and encouraging friendships and inclusivity in our education system and greater society.
That was the speech that started the conversation at our schools! Richard you have brought so much to Star Club... thank you thank you thank you. The children are waiting to have you visit again.
You continue to amaze me. Richard you are an inspiration to many. Keep up the good work.
The animation is available for schools and interested parties to purchase as a digital download coupled with a valuable resource in the form of workbook to help schools reinforce the themes presented in the animation.