So we are into the National Autism Awareness month, a time to try and wake people up the fact that autism is not going away, in fact, its growing in numbers. The spectrum is slowly becoming better known to professionals and they are able to pick up on autism in children who would have previously been missed (like Duck!). This is causing the numbers to grow. Its being said now that in the UK there could be as many as 1 in 100 children who are on the autistic spectrum somewhere. That's a lot. And as more children are identified, this number will keep rising.
There is a HUGE need out there for diagnosis and support. The post diagnosis support is limited and the pre diagnosis support is almost non existent.
The National Autistic Society are trying to improve this. They have their own schools which cater for children on all aspects of the spectrum and they work closely with each individual child to ensure they reach their full potential. The offer support groups, online support, legal advice and general advice along with much, much more.
I don't believe autistic children fair well in mainstream. I don't believe the schools have the facilities to offer the right support for an autistic child, even with a classroom assistant. Perhaps that's just my experience?
For Autism Awareness day I have set up a Text-Donate just giving page. I will be (gulp) posting a photo of me in my onsie along with a 'tag friends, donate and share' system similar to that of the recent Cancer campaign which raised over £8 million. I am realistic, I know we are really unlikely to reach that amount, sadly. Thats because not as many people are affected by autism so the willingness to donate will dwindle. I have however, set a target of £1500, which is not going to be easy. So when you see the pictures circulate, please would you join in and share? If people just donated £1 we would raise so much to help.
Things with Duck are not going too well. It appears school seem unwilling to accept the diagnosis. I guess this by a form I received which had a section for Special Educational Needs. The school had put in the space 'Possible Aspergers- un diagnosed'. I called them. I suggested they contacted my psychologist and raised the 'un-diagnosed' part with her. I was told they would do that. I have no idea if they did.
Meanwhile, Duck is finding class and the rules in class harder and harder to follow. Just the other day, the teacher asked all the children to be quiet. Guess who kept talking? Then, when asked again to stop, she immediately rolled her eyes at the teacher. (one of her more annoying traits). This led to the teacher (according to other children who witnessed it) shouting at Duck in front of the whole class to 'Stop rolling your eyes at me young lady'. Which upset Duck and was followed by a chair being slammed into the ground, a bag being thrown and some verbal abuse about how Duck hates school and especially the teacher. I am thinking they are lucky the chair was slammed into the ground and not elsewhere. I am also thinking that school really need to read the signs and work out that Duck isn't coping and that for as long as the teacher keeps yelling at her in front of the class, her behaviour will worsen. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that Duck shouldn't have rolled her eyes, and yes, I agree the teacher should have dealt with her about it. However, I would have done it differently.
Needless to say, the next day Duck didn't go into school very well. Actually, she was fine for me at home, but as soon as we got to the school and the teachers appeared, she started. I got away and left the school as quickly as I could. I could hear her screaming and hitting the door as I left. The school called me later and told me she was the most aggressive ever, throwing things, hitting people and generally unhappy. I said I wasn't surprised she was bad, teacher shouting at her was not the ideal way of managing her behaviour. I have no idea how next week will go. The form I previously mentioned also had a section saying 'Is pupil at risk of exclusion?' The school have filled it in with a 'YES'. I don't think the violence from yesterday will have helped in any way, shape of form.
For anyone who is interested in supporting our campaign for National Autism Awareness month, you need to take a pic of yourself in your onsie and post it to facebook or twitter with a note saying this...."I am supporting National Autism Awareness month. If you are nominated, you need to upload a picture of yourself in your onsie, pyjamas or dressing gown and donate to the NAS. Text AUTM54 followed by amount (eg AUTM54 £2.00) to 70070." Then tag your friends and get spreading. The donation line is live now. Lets do this. :-)
Here is my picture, I have donated. Have you???