A-Z Of Autism - E Is For.....

So if you read D is for then you will know what all of this is about, if not here is a little recap. I'm a Mum of 3 autistic children and way back 13 years ago when my eldest was diagnosed I really struggled to find real-life info about autism. So here we have the A to Z of autism, I'm not a Doctor or health care professionals, these are just some words on what autism means for us. Each fortnight (life stress dependant!!) is the next letter of the alphabet, do head over and check out D (highlighted above) and let's get on with E!

Educate
This is my MAIN E I think and I do it at any given chance! Autism is still massively misunderstood. The perception that certain behaviours are forced or purposeful, that they can be faked etc etc
It makes me rage, why on earth anyone who knows a person on the spectrum knows it's absolute crap. For me I have found the more ignorant people are the older generation, I get it, in their day there was no autism or ADHD, they were just naughty kids, or classed as slow and forgotten about. I take any given opportunity to tell them how it is, my best response is come and live with my 3 and tell me it's fake!! One of the reasons I choose to blog is to educate others, even if no one reads it's like therapy. But if 1 person reads and learns 1 thing then that's them educated. So my advice is to educate, share your wins and share your losses, they all count.

Education 
People think being on the spectrum equals not being able to be educated, this is not the case, although it can be difficult to find the correct setting for your child. I have 3 on the spectrum and all 3 have very different educational needs. I have 1 in a full specialist provision and 2 in mainstream education, with an EHCP. There are some kiddos on the spectrum who attend mainstream with no support and they cope well, but as I said it's very child-specific. My best advice when it comes to education is to do what you think is best for your child. When it came to Pops I knew mainstream even with full support was a no go, so I took the time to find out all about the specialist provisions in my area and made it my aim to get her into what I thought was the best one. Visit all of them, even ones that you don't think you would consider as the visits can be very eye-opening. I visited one I was adamant I would love and it felt all wrong as soon as I walked in and I knew it wasn't for her.

EHCP
An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), is a legal document that is drawn up between the local education authority, health & social care and a child's family, or a young person between 16 and 25. The EHCP identifies a child or young person’s needs and sets out the additional support required to meet those needs. They will provide clear structured support for any difficulties a child has, and identify what a school must put in place to help them, along with the outcomes necessary to achieve it. There will also be a clear timeframe drawn up, during which the outcomes should be achieved, and when they will be next reviewed. This is usually annually, it’s legally binding which means the local authority must fund any extra help identified as necessary. The process length varies depending on your local authority, your school SENDCO will start the process for you. If your child isn't in education you can apply yourself. You will need to fill in several forms and your child will see several professionals. We saw a speech & language therapist, educational psychologist, occupational therapist and we had a general check of their health. It's not always a straightforward process, check out my post EHCP Battle Finally Won for more info.

Echolalia
This is the repetition or echoing of words or sounds that you hear someone else say. Children often learn to speak by repeating words that they hear. Echolalia is commonly seen in toddlers during the first 3 years. It can happen in children with autism spectrum disorders like Asperger’s syndrome. They may need extra time to process the world around them and what people say to them. This causes them to copy or repeat the sounds or words they hear. There are 2 types of echolalia immediate and delayed, our Pops has a combination of both, she frequently repeats what you say, this is so she can process a request or understand what has been said. She also constantly repeats quotes from tv shows, songs adverts etc. She also does this to calm herself down when she is stressed.

Emotions
We struggle massively with emotions, people on the spectrum often find it hard to recognise emotions, facial expressions and other emotional cues like tone of voice and body language. They also struggle to show and manage their own emotions, understand and respond to other people's emotions, they might lack, or seem to lack, empathy with others. It is a huge myth that people on the spectrum have no emotions at all, we seem to have buckets of it, but we are still learning how to control and understand them.

Evidence
This is more pre-diagnosis advice, but it's all evidence. If you suspect your child is on the spectrum start complaining your evidence. I have a file for each of my children and it has all their doctors letters in for all their appointments. Mr L's is rather hefty now after 15 years of building, but you never know when you're going to need one of those letters!! 
If you notice your child doing that you deem unusual write it down somewhere as I guarantee when you go to that first appointment and they say "what's the problem" your mind goes totally blank! Even if you don't think it relevant write it down. 

So that's my Es for this time, I am hoping to have the next letter up in 2 weeks! But in this house, you just never know, but stick with me OK. If you want to catch up on previous weeks check out the A-Z of Autism page which contains links to all previous letters.

Thanks For Reading

Mandy

xx

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