Foster the need for more investigation into autism

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Foster the need for more investigation into autism

Foster more understanding about autism

Foster more awareness about ASD

On the 29th and 30th of June, Rainbow Fostering will again be present at The Autism Show, Event City, Manchester. Our Foster Care Services Director at Rainbow, Afshan Ahmad, will be giving another presentation on Autism and Fostering – Saturday morning (30th). We have written a number of blogs about autism in the run up to this event. We hope they have been informative and a spur to find out more – especially if you are considering becoming a foster carer for a child with special needs.

In the past…

Our knowledge about autism has been growing and changing over the years. It is now eight decades ago that Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner conducted the original research into this field. In the nineteen eighties and nineties, more was being learnt which yielded greater clarity about what autism actually is.

In the past, it tended to be confused with types of mental illness. Today, we have the term Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which itself provides an important insight into the nature of autism, i.e. that people who have it, are on a spectrum and so it varies in its effects from individual to individual. There has, following so much research into autism over the years, been an attitudinal shift. Autism now is not now generally regarded as an illness per se. The current view is that is simply a different way for the human brain to work.

The diagnosis takes into account many differing elements: how ASD impacts on sensory experience as well as communication. One thing is certain: research is ongoing and we are still learning new things about ASD. It is useful to list a few points about autism:

  • because autism is a difference in the way the brain processes information, a person is born with autism and does not ‘grow out of it’;
  • adults can be diagnosed in later life with autism: it is not always picked up in childhood. The view is that a lot more people could be on the spectrum, but have never had a diagnosis. In a recent Channel 4 programme, a survey was conducted on 750,000 undiagnosed individuals. They were given a basic test to ascertain if they might have autism. From this it emerged that 87,000 individuals produced a result indicating they might have the marker for someone who might have autism. This suggests that autism could be significantly under diagnosed in the United Kingdom;
  • The difference between levels of diagnosis between the sexes: The rate at which autism is diagnosed in men is greater – 5:1. it is at present not clear why the difference should be as much as this;
  • Asperger’s is a category of autism. Some people want to retain the differentiation, but although other sub categories exist, for convenience, all conditions associated with autism go under the catch all acronym ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders).

One thing that can now be agreed upon decades later, is that autism is not an illness. And certainly not a disease. Because it is a different way for the brain to interpret, process and react to information, people with autism can be better at some things. They face challenges the rest of us do not, but many have heightened senses and combined with higher IQs – with often highly focused behaviour – they can be extremely high achievers. Savant syndrome is a general term describing people who display a combination of marked cognitive problems. These are thought to often be rooted in autism. Research in recent years indicates savants may be more common amongst individuals with autism. With this syndrome, individuals can progress beyond high achievement. they can display remarkable abilities in certain areas such as music, art or mathematics. Some savants demonstrate what are, for the rest of us, astounding feats: a good example is the near instant calculation of calendar dates in the past and in the future. Such abilities were famously brought to people’s attention in the film “Rain Man” which won an Oscar in 1988.

Therapeutic foster care with Rainbow fostering brings its own unique rewards?

We need to find some very special people: individuals who have commitment, passion and dedication to spare. If that is you, perhaps give little thought to becoming a therapeutic foster carer with our agency. It is such a rewarding career in so very many ways. If you can give a supportive and stable home for children who, through no fault of their own, have a wide range of emotional and complex needs, we will give you training that is second to none. Phone Rainbow on 020 8427 3355. We also have a National line – 0330 311 2845 for more information about therapeutic foster care as well as mainstream foster care. Our recruitment team will take the time to provide answers to common questions you might have about foster care. These include: levels of foster carer pay? Different types of foster care;  How long does it take to become a foster carer; criteria set out for fostering and foster care assessment questions.

The Rainbow Fostering current news page

You can visit our website to inform yourself of the latest news articles covering a wide range of fostering foster care issues – https://bit.ly/2kJHpsO

All blogs written by Will Saunders: Rainbow Fostering – Content Management/Marketing

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