Autism in Pink EU project concludes with free web resources – Autism in Practice – July 2014

In the second feature of three for July 2014’s Autism in Practice, I had the chance to find out more about Autism in Pink, an EU-funded project that helped to bring women with autism together from Great Britain, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain. The project aimed to show how autism can present differently in the female form, rather than the male form. This has resulted in issues that can prevent women from receiving the autism diagnosis they seek.

Autism in Pink was a project for women with autism funded by the EU and supported by The National Autistic Society in Great Britain, Lithuania’s Edukaciniai Projektai, Portugal’s Federacao Portuguesa de Autismo and Spain’s Autismo Burgos.

The project embraced the phrase “nothing about us, without us”, gathering a group of women with autism in each country to attend workshops, giving them a unique opportunity to contribute to the materials produced by the project, meet influencers and politicians as well as attending international events to meet the groups from other countries. By taking part in the project’s research to produce materials to increase awareness and help others, many of the women volunteers themselves gained more personal insight, increased their confidence and overcame personal challenges. Continue reading

Asperger’s syndrome and mental health: A personal perspective – Autism in Practice – July 2014

In the first feature of three for the July 2014 issue of Autism in Practice, I had the pleasure of meeting Callum McCrosson, a man with autism who has dealt with mental health issues along a journey that has resulted in him becoming employed by The National Autistic Society. His story inspired me as I live with depression and anxiety myself.

Callum McCrosson, 26, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was 23. He has also experienced life with a mental health issue as a teenager that left him isolated.

Ten years after he first experienced panic attacks that manifested as stomach cramps and muscular contractions, he developed a mental health issue he now feels was “mostly caused by being autistic and not being aware of it.” Continue reading

Birmingham professor wins lifetime achievement award – Autism in Practice – April 2014

In the final feature of four for the April 2014 issue of Autism in Practice, I had a chance to write about the substantial achievements of Rita Jordan that have shaped how education standards for people with autism have been improved over a period of 40 years. She was honoured with an award to celebrate all she has achieved in the field of autism at The National Autistic Society’s Autism Professionals Awards 2014.

University of Birmingham Emeritus Professor Rita Jordan, has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Autism Professionals Awards after dedicating her 40-year career to improving education standards for people with autism.

Rita has worked as a teacher and then a trainer of professionals to develop theory and research on autism, and has written about and researched educational practice and the needs of children and young people with autism. More than 1 in 100 people in the UK have autism, which affects how a person communicates and relates to others, as well as how they see the world. Continue reading

Double win for Stafford-based psychology team at Autism Professionals Awards – Autism in Practice – April 2014

In the third of four features for the April 2014 issue of Autism in Practice, I shared the success and looked into the work that Midlands Psychology was commended for at The National Autistic Society’s Autism Professionals Awards 2014.

Midlands Psychology is a Stafford-based community interest company (CIC). Run by professionals who have a history of working with people with autism and parents of people with autism.

Midlands Psychology offers support to not only children and teenagers on the spectrum without the need for an initial referral from a medical professional; they also offer an Introduction to Autism course for families who have recently had a child diagnosed with autism. Continue reading

How do you assist people with autism in bespoke palliative and end-of-life care? – Autism in Practice – April 2014

In the second of four features for the April 2014 issue of Autism in Practice, I explored the process undertaken by Scottish Autism as they delivered bespoke palliative and end-of-life care to an existing client they worked with. Through understanding autism, they took their existing best practice into account and shaped it into a plan that worked for the client, the loved ones of the client and also themselves as a care provider.

Jill Ferguson, Services Manager at Scottish Autism, and Val Laurie, a Senior Autism Practitioner at Scottish Autism, work with a team that includes community nurses, consultants and specialists to provide palliative and end-of-life care for people with autism.

The team have recently assisted a service user to access specialist assistance after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Steps were taken to provide physical, psychological, social and spiritual support for the individual. Continue reading

Exploring the link between autism and gastrointestinal issues – Autism in Practice – April 2014

In my new role as a freelance feature writer for Autism in Practice, an e-newsletter that is put together by The National Autistic Society for professionals who work to support people with autism in Great Britain, I wanted to share the first feature I’ve put together with you all that was written on a possible link between autism and gastrointestinal issues. There is growing awareness of a potential link and through the examples I’ve used in the feature, I hope I show this.

Danny Bovell, 20, and Nicky Monks, 15, have both experienced issues with their gastrointestinal systems that have resulted in the need to wear a stoma bag for the foreseeable future after ileostomy surgery. They both also have autism.

Virginia Bovell, Danny’s mother, delivered a session at the NAS Professionals Conference 2014 in Harrogate on the possibility of an overlap between autism and gastrointestinal issues alongside Professor Simon Murch, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at Warwick Medical School. Continue reading