Although we have no definitive answers on what is ‘going on’ with Hayden, it seems like all signs are pointing towards Autism. And many professionals involved in gaining a diagnosis for Hayden are loosely in agreement. Hayden has been assessed by Speech & Language, Health Visitors, Neurologists, behavioural specialists…the list goes on. And whilst nobody will give a clear answer, whenever I mention the word ‘autism’ every single one of them have reluctantly nodded in agreement.
Whilst I have been researching the condition to help me personally understand it further and for the purposes of the long term plans for Little Monkey Hut I have come across a lot of facts, figures and pieces of information I never would have known unless I was personally (possibly; more than likely) touched by Autism.
One of the things that stand out to me is the lack of awareness out there and sometimes the pure ignorance of people. As parents you can always sympathise with other parents that have children with illnesses, diseases and conditions, yet there is a lack of empathy when you watch a 7 year old have a meltdown in the middle of the supermarket or see a teenager that refuses to acknowledge the presence of anyone around them. The first thing most people think (including me) is “the parents are to blame!” Now put yourself in another situation… what if you were that parent?! Think of the patience you have to have to be able to deal with those situations. Ask yourself how you could build up the courage to take your children out for the day with the worry that one of them could react badly to their surroundings. Or how much careful planning a simple supermarket trip takes! Or how much a soft play centre can terrify you because the under 3 area is about to be overtaken by a child that is ‘too old and boisterous’ for the area yet that’s where they feel most comfortable.
So here are a few simple facts and figures around Autism that might enlighten you!
- There are over 700,000 people in the UK diagnosed with Autism. If you include their families, Autism touches over 2.7 million people in the UK alone.
- Autism is incurable.
- No two autism cases are the same. So what works for one person may not work for another.
- Over 40% of children with Autism have been bullied at school.
- 1 in 5 children with Autism have been excluded from their school for their behaviour. Many more than once.
- Not all autism cases are children. They grow into adults!
- Families with autism often do not get the right support putting them under immense strain. It has been estimated that the divorce rate of parents of children with autism is 60% higher than average. In a UK study of families with autism one in three were single parents.
- Recent diagnosis rates suggest four times as many boys as girls have autism.
- Many families with autism live in poverty as it costs on average three times more to raise a child with a severe impairment than a non-disabled child.