Autism and Enablement: Update

An update from our friends in Kent, relating to the research behind Autism and Enablement

We are pleased to inform that our social care research on an ASC Enablement has been fully accepted now by the Health Research Authority. You can read more about the research here.

enablement

The enablement and reablement programme are very much now a core offer of Local Authorities for most client groups; and are promoted in the Care Act (2014).

Autistic adults have never previously been offered such an approach but a specialist approach is now researched good practice and commissioner of health and social care should be considering similar offers to Kent. Kent’s unique approach and the significant benefits of the approach – particularly to the individual themselves,  can be found within the JKP book Autism and Enablement (Bushell, Gasson, Vann 2018).

To find out more about this research, click HERE.

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A Light Touch – Understanding Autism

Jonas Torrance provides creative therapy & behaviour support for autistic children. His first book, Therapeutic Adventures with Autistic Children: Connecting through Movement, Play and Creativity is published by JKP on 21st May. Here, Jonas describes a case study in which a little understanding went a long way.

Jamie, an autistic boy, is in maths. The boy behind him begins to absentmindedly stroke Jamie’s back with a pencil. He lets the pencil drift up, and then back down. Jamie starts twisting in his seat, shouting and tearing off his clothes. The maths lesson descends into chaos.

A few days later, Jamie is able to explain why he was so distressed – the sensations of the pencil on his back made him think that the whole back wall of the classroom was collapsing, and that he was about to be crushed to death.

autistic childrenThese days there is a good deal of understanding around the sensory issues that autistic children face. Ear defenders, for example, have become a common accessory for those with sensitivity to sound. But it’s important to realise that, to the autistic child, the ear defenders are not simply useful for reducing noise levels. The tightness of the headphones is also a factor – for some children this pressure gives them the sense of their heads being held together and contained. Continue reading

PDA by PDAers

Fittingly, Sally Cat’s first ever blog piece is about her first book, PDA by PDAers, which is out now. Here, she describes how the online support and discussion group that fuelled the book came about and flourished, despite her PDA sometimes getting in the way. You can visit her PDA blog to learn more.

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for a while.  I’m good with words, have opinions and an understanding of PDA, but my PDA (pathological demand avoidance) has actually scuppered me into a kind of helpless paralysis. Demand Avoidance has told me that blog writing is “too difficult”.  It says, “you’ll get lost and waffle on irrelevantly”; “people will be bored”; “it would take up too much time” and this negative brush with which my subliminal demand avoidance has painted the concept of blog writing has left me feeling terrified of even trying.  However, JKP have invited me to write a blog to coincide with the launch of my book, PDA by PDAers, and (after much avoiding and, in facing it, feeling physically sick) here goes!PDA

PDA to me is a wondrous, many faceted beast.  I equate it to a tiger in the introduction to PDA by PDAers where I say that thinking of PDA as merely comprising Demand Avoidance is akin to thinking of tigers as comprising only stripes.  We PDAers, as I have come to know us, have metaphorical teeth, claws and bodies finely honed for leaping too. We experience extreme, hard-wired anxiety, which we tend to feel compelled to mask (for, I believe, equally hard-wired reasons).  We fight injustice and fearlessly defend victimised people and animals. We have wonderful imaginations and breadth of lateral thinking. We have our own minds and think out our own, well-considered codes of ethics. We are vulnerable though to social pressures and need personal control and quiet space in order to thrive.  There is a myth-conception amongst the few who are aware of PDA that we feel no shame during meltdown, but this is untrue. Melting down is involuntary and we observe ourselves in mute horror then, once our meltdowns are over, tend to hide our shame behind involuntary masks. Continue reading

PDA Action Day – Positive PDA

PDA day

The PDA Society are encouraging everyone to mark today, 15th May, as PDA Day! The theme is ‘Positive PDA’ and in keeping with that, they’ll be focusing on success stories, recognising all those who are making great contributions to the PDA world, highlighting some of the positives of living with PDA and showcasing the accomplishments of adult PDAers. As well as this, you’re all invited to get involved by fundraising, sharing stories, or joining their peaceful protest.

We’re joining in by sharing some of the resources we’ve published over the years, and a sneak peek at what’s coming up throughout 2018. PDA has been a big focus for JKP this year, and will continue to be as more is learned and understood about the diagnosis, and more stories are shared. So, take a look through our old, new, and upcoming books on PDA.  Continue reading

Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism

Co-editor of the not for profit parenting magazine, AuKids, Debby Elley has now written her first parenting guide, Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism: The Stuff That Transformed My Life as an Autism Parent. Here on our blog, she describes the book and its aims in her own words. 

I’ll let you into a secret. It’s not really fifteen things, it’s a lot more. My son Bobby calls it Fifteen Things YOU TOTALLY MISSED About Autism, but the thing is, you’d be forgiven for missing them. No-one tells you what it’s important to know. You sort of find out the hard way. That is, with time and effort and sometimes a few tears.

Fifteen Things… is the sort of book that I could only write having amassed a decent body of evidence from my own experience of raising twins. It’s now 12 years since they were diagnosed and I’m one of those parents who can look back with the benefit of hindsight and tell myself where I went wrong. That’s no fun at all, so I thought that I’d prefer instead to tell those at the beginning of this learning curve where they can go right.

Fifteen Things

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Seeing the World Through Our Eyes- book extract

We’re coming up on the end of Autism Awareness Month! Each week we’ve shared a series of blog posts on books by, for, and about autistic adults. This week, we’ve pulled an extract from Deborah Lipsky’s thoughtful book, From Anxiety to Meltdown: How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively

Drawing on her own experience and using examples to explain how autistic people think, the author distinguishes between meltdowns and tantrums, showing how each begins, and most importantly, how to identify triggers and prevent outbursts from happening in the first place. 

“To fully comprehend why we have such strong negative reactions to seemingly minor daily disruptions one must understand how the autistic population perceives the world. We will look at the core ‘issues’ of autism from the perspective of someone who lives it daily. Actually I don’t like using the term ‘core issues’ because it seems to have a negative overtone. Let’s instead view them as ‘core character traits.’ It is paramount that you the reader should not misunderstand the word ‘autism’ to truly appreciate the insights this book will offer. On the television and in the media autism mostly carries a negative connotation. It is a ‘disease,’ ‘disorder,’ ‘lifelong burden,’ and, my favorite, an ‘epidemic.’ Many people have a stereotypical view of an autistic individual as a non verbal child who rocks incessantly, huddles in a corner flapping their hands, and seems to wail when asked to do something. Society has not fully accepted the higher functioning person with autism and Asperger’s as an individual who despite looking physically ‘normal’ does have limitations and special needs. I find this especially true in the school system. So many parents have lamented to me that, despite a diagnosis of autism, their child is not seen as ‘autistic’ because they are doing well academically and therefore isn’t offered the reasonable accommodations necessary to provide a safe learning environment for them. When I am called in for consultations due to ‘behavioral issues’ by the school, most often these behaviors are the direct result of a lack of understanding of the child’s particular needs as well as an incorrect understanding of what autism truly is…”

To read the full chapter, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about this book visit our WEBSITE, or browse a selection of our books written for autistic adults HERE.

Pretending A Little Less- book extract

It’s Autism Awareness Month and each week we’ve shared a series of blog posts on books by, for, and about autistic adults. Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Expanded Edition is an updated edition of the bestselling story of a woman who, after years of self-doubt and self-denial, learned to embrace and appreciate her Asperger’s syndrome traits.

Liane Holliday Willey shares, with insight and warmth, the daily struggles and challenges that face many of those who have AS and charts her inspirational journey to self-acceptance.

“When Pretending to be Normal was published in 1999, I saw society as if a big mesh fence surrounded it. I could poke my fingers through the holey mesh, and see the blurry images on the other side, and put my ear against the tight weave to hear conversations within the webbed walls, but I couldn’t break down the barriers that were so real, they might as well have been made of steel chains. Read blogs and memoirs from those on the spectrum and you will quickly note most of us felt like we were on the outside looking in, always trying with all our might to prove we had potential to offer, kindness to share and skill sets to turn into productive work. We tried everything to just get a foot in the door of the NT world. We knocked and knocked and pleaded and fought and bribed and pouted and joked and offered favors and turned over every leaf to find a way in to typical society until we were exhausted and spent or until we found a way to pretend we were what society wanted us to be. Though our pluses outweigh our negatives, we are different thinkers who can act in ways not always socially acceptable, leaving society confused…”

To read the full chapter, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about this book visit our WEBSITE, or browse a selection of our books written for autistic adults HERE.

The perfect job – book extract

As you might already know, we’re marking Autism Awareness Month throughout April by sharing a series of blog posts on books by, for, and about autistic adults. Featuring personal stories from those with Asperger’s Syndrome, Sarah Hendrickx’s book, Asperger Syndrome & Employment highlights successful scenarios and provides suggestions for employers and those in search of work. This extract looks at key criteria which can be helpful to think about. 

Is there any such thing as the perfect job? Or is this an oxymoron? A suitable job is one which allows best use of specific skills and minimises the areas of weakness. Lone working, excellent factual memory, logical analysis and problem-solving are likely strengths for someone with AS. Jobs which have been suggested to be more suitable for those with AS include:

  • aspergerpostman – lone working, lack of pressure, involves exercise
  • gardener – lone working, lack of pressure, physical work (can be relaxing)
  • IT technician – lone working, technical precision required, problem solving
  • software engineer – problem solving, working to precise specifications
  • photographer – creative, lone working, using technical skills
  • researcher – analytical, focused, detail-driven
  • accountant – proficiency with numbers, accuracy
  • librarian – system focused, excellent factual memory
  • piano tuner – perfect pitch, lack of pressure, lone working, specialist interest

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Forest School and Autism

Upon the release of his book, Forest School and Autism, we spoke to author and practitioner Michael James about what exactly Forest School involves, and why it’s so well suited for autistic learners. 

What exactly is meant by the term ‘Forest School’?

The term “Forest School” describes a specific approach to outdoor learning. Forest School has a strong ethos of learner-centered practice combined with an understanding of the benefits to wellbeing which come from regular contact with nature. Forest School is attended by people of all ages and abilities.

forest school

How is Forest School suited to the needs of autistic people?

Well, I’m always very aware of the saying “If you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person of autism”! The learner-centered ethos of Forest School seeks to accommodate the individual needs of different learners, and this flexibility can allow autistic learners the space to be themselves and engage on their own terms. This space includes the physical space of natural settings, which is far greater than in indoor settings, and also there is more space in time afforded by the Forest School approach. In my experience, this approach can suit autistic learners very well. Another strength of Forest School is the heightened awareness of place which can encourage practitioners to consider the sensory environment which is obviously important when learners have different sensory needs. For Forest School to best meet the needs of autistic learners the practitioner needs to develop autism awareness, and this book aims to promote and encourage that.

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Autism & Ageing – book extract

The latest in our blog series for Autism Awareness Month, we’re looking at Wenn Lawson’s excellent book for autistic adults. The first book to look seriously at the practical issues facing older adults with autism, Wenn Lawson’s groundbreaking handbook Older Adults and Autism Spectrum Conditions offers support, advice, and sensible ways in which to look at the issues. In this extract, Wenn uses himself as a case study.

autistic adults

As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed a few changes related to ASC that are relevant to this discussion. I’ve divided them into physical setting, emotional wellbeing and social setting, though clearly each overlap.

Physical setting

This broad topic includes health and mobility at home, outside home, at work, using public transport, and visiting family and friends.

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