World Autism Week
In World Autism Week we bring you blogs from members of the Frontier family who are also Autistic. First up is John Biddulph our Autism Consultant :
"I spend a significant amount of time working with, and on behalf of, autistic people and their families who are new to the often overwhelming experience of having a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. As a result of my experiences, I believe there needs to be a radical rethink of the whole process. From pre-assessment, through education (assuming a childhood diagnosis) and into adulthood, there are still far too many autistic individuals whose lives are made even more challenging by the lack of easy access to identification, appropriate support and understanding in school and a total lack of support in adult life. The outcome: too many autistic people needing to access mental health services."
To address this, our assumptions about identification, about training, about education, and about support almost certainly need to change fundamentally. First, we must ensure that all families who visit their GP with concerns about their child receive an informed, appropriate and sensitive response that is quickly followed by action. Next, we need clear materials for the family to take away with them informing them of the process of assessment, how it done and what will happen after a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. These materials also need to reassure parents and carers that their child can achieve many things and that it’s often others who create the barriers, not the condition and especially not the diagnosis.
Finally, we need world class care and support for those who need it as they enter adult life. With opportunities to do meaningful, exciting, and sometimes, even challenging things.
Because we are not aliens. We are part of the rich, diverse community inhabiting planet Earth.