The Importance of Developing an Awareness of Autism

The Importance of Developing an Awareness of Autism

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Being unaware of the signs of autism can result in numerous problems, from inefficient responses to inadequate help. This is exactly why being fully aware of autism and all of its symptoms is key to being able to help those who suffer from it.

Autism affects approximately 700,000 people in the UK and has a negative if not damaging effect on people should they not receive sufficient treatment. There is no sure way to diagnose autism as yet but the symptoms of autism may be detected with the right help.

Parents are generally encouraged to consult a doctor who can refer their child to specialists should the child show the inability to make any kind of eye contact, become unresponsive, become socially disengaged, or engage in repetitive actions.


Autism Facts and Statistics

  1. Autism can affect anyone of any age
  2. Autism is a diverse and mystifying condition that has been the focus of scientific research over the last few decades.
  3. Autistic spectrum disorders are thought to be more prevalent in males. Some researchers report that males make up 80% of autism cases and there are up to 15 times as many males than females with Asperger’s syndrome.
  4. Up to 40% of children who have autism have been victims of some form of abuse/bullying either at school or elsewhere.
  5. Approximately 15% of adults with autism in the UK are working in full-time jobs.
  6. 51% of those with autism are unemployed with many having been unable to find employment for up to a decade.

Unfortunately, many doctors are unable to diagnose autism due to lack of knowledge. This can cause unnecessary delays in the child receiving appropriate therapy. Many organisations are now working diligently to bring awareness to light so that it can be detected and treated at the earliest possible stages.

The Department of Health increased funds up to £500,000 to develop adequate training materials for health and social care workers. Some of the funded projects include:

    1. Royal College of Psychiatrists

The intended goal of the RCPsych is to develop training content for professionals in the healthcare industry. Materials include video-interviews of adults who suffer from Asperger syndrome and from those who are close to them including their family members and caregivers.

    1. The National Autistic Society

The NAS project’s goal is to pinpoint issues that affect the service providers involving the proper implementation of autism strategy, and to construct a solid resource to help them.

    1. The Social Care Institute for Excellence

The purpose of the SCIE is to increase the understanding of autism among social care workers. They have produced guides and videos to help social care workers become familiar with people with autism and how to best cater to their needs.

    1. British Psychological Society

BPS delivers a series of e-learning modules for adult autism awareness. The focus of the modules is to raise awareness and help build knowledge from beginning to advanced levels.

    1. Oxford University

The Oxford project builds on prior research regarding the challenges of those with autism. It focuses on the experience of family members aged 16+.

    1. Skills for Health/Skills for Care

This project worked with the NAS to develop a framework to help the training of health workers about autism. It included consultations with various people including families, commissioners, employers and all levels of staff in the field of healthcare and social care.

    1. Royal College of Nursing

The RCN projects include bullet point posters to create awareness when communicating with people with autism along with a guide for nurses on how to deal with people with autism.

    1. Royal College of General Practitioners

The RCGP has created a course for professionals and practitioners in primary care to help improve standards relating to dealing with people with autism.

For most adults with autism, being able to receive a clinical diagnosis is the most important step on the road to a comfortable life as it not only helps people and their families to understand the condition but also helps with attaining the right support and services should they be necessary.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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