The M Word

Autism and Young People

Teenage years are the hardest part of childhood and yet we rarely tell our teenagers this. Yet nobody willingly concedes they would “love to go back to being a teenager”. Parents struggle with the transitions of teenagers voicing their opinions, asserting their authorities, displaying challenging behaviour. School and homelife alongside 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 they lose their confidence and self-esteem rapidly which impacts on their mood and then continues to deteriorate to frightening levels of self-harm and active suicidal plans. Self-harm can range through a variety of ways but commonly through using sharp objects to cut their skin, taking drugs or alcohol, or to restrict 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 do a full diagnostic testing. This is because we are aware that there is a lengthy process with CAMHS (often taking 2 – 3 years from the initial screening to a confirmed diagnosis). Once you have your confirmed diagnosis, you are then able to proceed for an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) through your Local Authority. However, you do not have to have a formal diagnosis in order to have an EHCP. However, having the initial screening through The M Word means that your advisories around Mental Health needs can be put into the EHCP as recommendations as well as future liaison with the private Clinical Psychologist, and certainly with your child’s school to provide the best support possible.

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

Ginny Dix, BA (Hons)