Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Scottish Autism and Sainsbury....

Wonderful news to report! Scottish Autism is the latest charity partner for Sainsbury in Stirling. This means that for the next twelve months, the supermarket's Stirling superstore will be raising money to boost the Sottish Autism coffers.

Links like this are very important for fundraising, but more than that, they help raise awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and all of the work which takes place up and down the country to improve the lives of people who are affected. But without thus vital fundraising partnerships and others like it, many services and support just would not be available to our clients, and so, a great big thank you to Sainsbury's in Stirling. We look forward to working with you over the coming twelve months :-)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A new strategy for Autism in Scotland...

With the new SNP government firmly ensconced in Holyrood, and with a workable majority, Scottish politics is bound to change over the next five year parliamentary term. Will this new-found power enable them to be much bolder in their policy formation and implementation? With the absolute need (if not the moral imperative)for consensus negated, might this be the time for new, and even groundbreaking initiatves? Time will tell, as usual.

And perhaps, with Worl Autism Day just behind us for this year, this is an opportunity to put forward fresh ideas which might become drivers of government policy. Scottish Autism chief executive, Alan Somerville, writing in the Scotsman earlier this week called for the development of a comprehensive strategy for autism during the lifetime of this current parliament. Others have called for an overhaul of education provision for those on the autistic spectum.

With a majority in the chamber, Michael Russel and Angela Constance now have an opportunity to introduce real innovative measures to change the lives of those with autistic spectrum disorders the length and breadth of Scotland. Measures which might go a long way towards balancing the inequality of provision which curently exists, particularly in remote rural areas. The so-called 'postcode lottery' prevalent in 2003 has not entirely vanished.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Who will care?

One of Scottish Autism's recent tweets linked to the story of Viginia Bovell, the ex-wife of author Nick Hornby. In this article,she Writes about their autistic son and the frightening possibility that he may be alive for up to forty years after they have both died. I guess this is a reflection of the fears many of us with profoundly autistic children and young adults have. Just who is going the care for them once we are gone. Because sadly, its a burden too much for many siblings left to carry on with the caring. The recent Panorama television expose of care home abuse just compounds the problem for many, giving rise to an additional worry of what might be happening to their child or other relative placed in any kind of care establishment. Add this to the guilt feelings which often arise from making such placement decisions and you have a potent cocktail of fear and anxiety. This is what Virginia is alluding to when she writes..

Too much attention has been paid to discovering the cause of autism and not enough to making sure that those who have it can lead happy, fulfilled lives within society.

This is why its heartening to know that the emphasis of service providers such as Scottish Autism is on just this issue - services, help and advice focussed firmly on quality of life for people with autistic spectrum disorders and their families. A focus perhaps reflected in the Scottish Autism 'mission statement' which can be seen on this blog's header and on the SA website...

Enabling people living with autism in Scotland through the whole life journey

I suppose one solution to this problem, faced by Virginia and so many others up and down the country is some degree of forward planing, although in a rapidly changing society with ever-present funding issues this can be difficult. Good advice is essential now, more than ever before.

Family carers, like Virginia, myself, and thousands of others, save this country untold millions of pounds in care costs. Many of us have given up our jobs and careers to look after our children and other family members affected by disabilities and conditions like autism. Is it really asking too much that some of this saved money be spent on improving the quality of life and securing the futures of all those affected?

Scottish Autism runs an advice helpline. Go to their website for further details of this and their other services. And have a look at this video which shows how things can be, with a little imagination, committment, and lots of effort :-)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mobile Air...the autism network for mobile apps...

News has reached us of a new website which should be able to help you choose ASD-suitable apps for your smartphones and tablets. Developed by a parent with an autistic child, it aggregates, categorises and reviews autistic-friendly apps. There is also an on-line forum for discussion, experiences, and review of the various apps available.
The owners go on to say.. "Mobile Air is a social network to connect with people with autism, their riends, families, aides and teachers and the rest of society...anywhere, anytime".

(Image by licensed through Creative commons)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ari Ne' Inverness

Appointed by President Obama to his national council On disability, Ari Ne'eman is no stranger to issues and challenges presented by Autism, particularly as he himself has Aspergers syndrome. Indeed, Ne'eman is the first autistic person to serve on the council, and brings with him a wealth of experience in his field, largely gained as a co-founder of the Autism Self Advocacy Network

So it's really fantastic that Ari is coming to speak at an event next Monday in Inverness, arranged by The Autism Rights Group Highland

Tickets, priced at £3 are available by contacting ARGH on the link above.

(Image from licensed through Creative Commons)