Have I got views for you!

There is currently a brilliant chance to have your voice heard.

People with autism need the Government to help them to find and stay in work. Without this, autistic people will continue to be left behind, their abilities overlooked.

We know how much they can contribute to the workplace – some of our employees are former clients and others have found success in sustaining work placements, sometimes succeeding in gaining paid employment!

The Government has launched a consultation to inform their plans for changes to the law about disability and work. The more people who tell them what support is needed for autistic people to get into and stay in work, the better chance we have.

You only have until 17 February 2017 to respond but we advise that you get your comments in as soon as you can.

The National Autistic Society have designed an easy and accessible feedback form on their website. It’s designed for Parents, Carers and Autistic people themselves. If you have just a few minutes to spare please click on this link and make your voice heard!

https://act.autism.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=10&ea.campaign.id=59439

All in the mind

Our Communications Worker James has written this article to mark World Mental Health Day 2016 – Monday 10 October.

It’s a fact that Mental Health issues and Autism are interlinked. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I can attest to this myself having suffered from Depression. However, it’s not just my personal experience that bears this out.

More than 40% of people with Autism have a least one anxiety disorder at any one time. This is compared to 15% in the general UK population. Depression is also very common. At least 20% of the general population have Depression at any one time, but in people with Autism it is significantly higher.

What are the causes? Well, firstly it’s the struggle to cope with everyday life. For people without Autism that can be difficult, but when you struggle to focus on things and get confused by the world around you it can be a lot worse. People with Autism and other learning difficulties can often find it hard to cope with people looking at them disapprovingly.

But there are ways that we can change this.

Firstly, an increased awareness of the link between Autism and Mental Health issues. If the general public can understand its prevalence then they will begin to be more accepting of it when they see it.

Secondly, openness about it. There’s nothing shameful about having Mental Health issues. In fact, it’s quite understandable if you look at it dispassionately.

Thirdly, making friends and having more social connections. Many people with Autism can end up isolating themselves from society, whether by circumstance or choice. By making friends, doing activities and generally getting out and about, positive change can happen. And that’s where Space Inclusive comes in handy too. We provide activities and social interaction for our clients, and because of that they are happier and feel they can achieve more. Their self-esteem is lifted!

So, on World Mental Health Day 2016 spare a thought for people with Autism and other Learning difficulties who have mental health problems.

They’re also a valuable part of our society!

Nice one, Notts County!

A lot of our clients enjoy the beautiful game – football. However, for many people with Autism (even without it, in truth), football matches can be rather intimidating places to attend.

The loud noises from the crowd and the sheer number of fans there can make people with Autism feel uncomfortable, even if they enjoy watching football. Also, there are many parents who have children with Autism, who’d love to go to a match but might find it hard because they’re scared of going.

Notts County have been innovative though. They’ve designed and created an Autism friendly room for people to watch matches in. It’s a new and bold step for a football club to take – so far the only other club to do this is Sunderland – but it’s one which we fully approve of.

Making places Autism friendly is a win-win situation for people with the condition. Now there is a safe place that people with Autism can go to and enjoy the game.

Well done Notts County!

Brian Rix

Sometimes there are people who can make a real impact because of their celebrity status, but, as you’ll find out in this short piece, Brian Rix was so much more than a concerned celebrity. He helped change perceptions – indeed, he actively devoted himself to doing so.

Brian was a comic actor. During the 1950s and 60s he starred in more than 90 ‘farcical comedies’ alongside some of the great comic actors of the age. However, Brian wasn’t content with just being a figure of fun.

Brian’s daughter Shelley had a learning disability – Down’s syndrome. During the 1970s he saw that perceptions of people with learning disabilities were often not as positive as they could be.

However, Brian challenged this. In the 1970s he presented a programme called ‘Let’s Go!’. It was aimed to highlight the potential of people with learning disabilities, showing that they can achieve a huge amount.

In 1980 Brian became the General Secretary of the charity Mencap. In this role he campaigned tirelessly for people with learning disabilities. He championed the idea – radical at the time – that people with learning disabilities have a full role to play in society and can achieve a huge amount. Initiatives such as supported independent living were championed by Brian.

The work of Charities and Social Enterprises such as Space Inclusive owe a huge amount to the pioneers of learning disability campaigning. Brian Rix really was a pioneer. It isn’t just Mencap – the charity he became President of – that’ll miss him but the wider community as a whole. Thank you, Brian, rest in peace.

Evidence needed! Can you help?…

Members of Parliament on the Communities and Local Government Committee want to hear about your experiences of accessing adult social care support and services and providing care.

  • What works and what doesn’t work about the current system?
  • Have you seen services in your area change?
  • How could services be improved?
  • As a carer, what do you think are the challenges facing the sector?
  • As a carer, are you getting the support you need, financially and in terms of your health and well-being?

Click on this link to submit evidence to their enquiry on an online form.

How are you feeling?

It’s often been thought at people with Autism find it hard to relate to people because they find it hard to judge other people’s emotions.

However, a new study by two academics has found that people with Autism have more empathy than you might imagine. According to their study, which has been summarised on the Spectrum News website, they said “the notion that people with autism generally lack empathy and cannot recognise feelings is wrong.”

The two academics who wrote the piece, Rebecca Brewer and Jennifer Murphy, have suggested that sometimes people with Autism feel emotions can’t always figure out what emotion it is that they have. “If people assume that someone with autism lacks empathy, they will be wrong about half the time. Making this assumption is unfair and can be hurtful” they wrote.

It’s always important to remember that people with Autism are first and foremost individuals – its the way we work here at Space Inclusive. However, sometimes others are misinformed about what people with Autism think, and if this study can help change perceptions, then we think that’s great!