Skip to main content

Raising Autism awareness through art

Maud Achard (pictured) is a Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician who works as a Dietitian in the Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit at GCUH and in a neurodivergent-led private clinic for neurodivergent persons.

As an Autistic person herself, Maud brings a unique perspective to supporting neurodivergent people with feeding differences and eating disorders. For Maud personally, art has provided a platform for to share what it can feel like to experience the world differently.

This National Autism Acceptance Month, Maud is sharing a compelling series of pencil and charcoal drawings with the Gold Coast Health community. Their artwork speaks to the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals when living in a world mostly designed for neurotypical brains and aims to foster understanding and support within the community.

“My work is inspired by my clients’ experiences (with their permission for me to share) or my own. While my drawings capture only a fraction of the wide range of experiences of all Autistic people, I hope that some of the pieces resonate with neurodivergent staff, patients, and visitors,” she said.

"I find drawing easier than finding the 'right' words. My pieces emphasise the importance of creating a world in which neurodivergent persons are supported to achieve genuine acceptance and inclusion, and in which Autistic culture and identity are celebrated instead of pathologised."

Themes within Maud’s artwork delve into the toll of masking, struggles against dismissal and gaslighting, and the exhaustion of Autistic burnout. Through this exhibition of works, Maud hopes to create a space where neurodivergent individuals find belonging rather than conformity.

Outside of using art to share their experience of Autism, Maud works for the not-for-profit organisation Eating Disorders Neurodiversity Australia (EDNA) to promote the importance of neurodiversity affirming eating disorder care and to develop training and workshops for clinicians interested in upskilling in this area.

For those interested in exploring neurodiversity affirming eating disorder care, EDNA offer training and workshops, enriching clinicians' skills in this area. Information sheets for clinicians, patients and carers can be downloaded here.

To experience Maud’s series of thought-provoking artworks, and learn more about neurodiversity affirming care, visit the Gold Coast University Hospital main foyer throughout April, in support of National Autism Acceptance Month.

Last updated 05 Apr 2024