The M Word

Ginny Dix, BA (Hons)

Young People and Autism

The teenage years are the hardest part of childhood and yet we rarely tell our teenagers this – few willingly concede they would “love to go back to being a teenager”. Parents struggle with the transition as teenagers start to voice their opinions, assert their authority, and display challenging behaviour. School and home life alongside the pressures of studying, learning new skills, and relationships involving sex, alcohol and drugs are often a lethal combination, leaving both parents and teenagers struggling, confused, and frustrated. Some teenagers feel quite unable to cope and lose their confidence and self-esteem rapidly, which impacts their mood, potentially deteriorating to frightening levels of self-harm and active suicidal thoughts. Self-harm can range from the use of sharp objects to cut their skin, taking drugs or alcohol, or restricting food.

Many young people struggle with their mental health, particularly those on the autistic spectrum. The M Word can offer an initial screening for both ASD and ADHD/ADD to help you decide whether it is worth proceeding with a private Clinical Psychologist to perform full diagnostic testing. We are aware of the lengthy process with CAMHS (often taking 2-3 years from initial screening to confirmed diagnosis). Once you have a confirmed diagnosis, you are able to apply for an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) through your local authority. While you do not need to have a formal diagnosis in order to have an EHCP, an initial screening through The M Word means that the advisories around your child’s mental health needs can be put into the EHCP as recommendations and provide information for a future private Clinical Psychologist, and for the child’s school, to provide the best support possible.

Non-Executive Director for Young People and Autism - Ginny Dix, BA (Hons)