Today, to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and the start of World Autism Month we’d like to introduce you to Kirsty, our therapist who specialises in working with Autism and Learning Difficulties.
This year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day. Over the course of the month, we will be sharing information to help increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism. #CelebrateDifference
Hi, my name is Kirsty, I am working clinically within Youth Trust with Autistic children, young people, their families, schools, and wider systems to help improve mental health conditions. I have specialised training which has enabled me to adapt evidence-based interventions to meet the needs of an autistic young person.
It has been recognised that as many as 1 in 4 people will experience times of poor mental health in their lifetime, however this can be higher in autistic people. This is because the way the world around us can be processed in different ways which can become stressful and difficult to manage this includes social and school-based anxieties, masking and feeling overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. It is not so easy to read social cues, to know when someone is being a good friend or not, to manage change or to be so overwhelmed by sensory overload. Don’t even get me started on sarcasm and banter!! And why would someone say it’s raining cats and dogs?? Or they have butterflies in their tummy. The language an autistic person needs to hear should be clear, appropriate, and relevant.
As autism can present itself in so many ways, I offer a unique and accepting style to everyone, using personal strengths, identifying challenges, and promoting inclusivity when needed. Some adaptions I may use range from altering the length of session time, using alternative communication methods, minimising sensory distractions in the environment, and sometimes co-facilitating with a parent or carer, this can help to incorporate what we have worked on during our sessions into real life situations. I sometimes encourage home tasks which can be written down in easy steps for the young person to reflect and remind themselves on in between sessions.
Feedback so far is that young people I have supported have felt listened to and understood, they appreciate the time that they have just for them to problem solve and to manage their worries. I enjoy meeting people and helping others to discover new ideas, it is such a varied and rewarding position to be in. I would like to increase the support in school environments, this work is much needed and with the help of other services we are getting there day by day.
If you would like to find out more about the work Kirsty does, or to make a referral to access support please email email@example.com or phone 01983 529569.