First of all sorry for no blog last week, I had a lot of medical appointments plus a few other things going on and each blog that I write takes a lot out of me – being so honest/open on my life .
In this Blog, I will talk about the lack of services available for adults on the Autism Spectrum and why I believe they are not functioning the way they should and are unfortunately usually not even in place. Certainly, for me they are lacking, this is not to insult to those working in this area and I certainly don’t want to offend anyone as there are some amazing people trying to do their best in both the public and private sector.
Once I hit the magical age of 18 the help, support and services just disappeared I was expected to either cope by myself or attend a mental health services which is not the correct service for someone with Autism. Yes, people with Autism do suffer from mental health problems just like the rest of the population but often these conditions are brought on or made worse by a lack of proper care and treatment. This country has failed to provide transitioning services for adolescents with ASD and as a result there is not full inclusion in society. I am lucky in that I have a support network but there is probably some lad the same age as me stuck in his bedroom somewhere around the country with no friends and no job, no college course and feeling very depressed, it does not have to be like this. Sometimes I think the fact that ASD is often a hidden disability does not help. Also, a lack of education around the condition in schools, colleges and the workplace.
Once I left school I had no service to attend. My mum did find a service which was recommended by a doctor working in a public mental health facility who admitted to her that her service did not have the resources to look after people on the Autistic Spectrum. I attended the service that was recommended and it was a waste of time, more suited to young children and on top of that it cost €140 per session.
There should be a service tailored specially for people with Autism, we should not have to fit into an already poor system, remember that people with Autism have different needs. Most people need a multi-disciplinary team such as an OT, speech and language therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist etc. For me a good OT would be a benefit especially starting college soon. The adult health service discriminates against people with Autism. In the past 12 month’s I have seen 3 different doctors in the public system, in fact since I started attending this place I have never seen the same doctor twice. Each time I have been asked the very same personal questions about my life, questions I was uncomfortable answering to someone who I had just met for the first time and who I believe did not have a good understanding of ASD. You would think educated people running a service would have a bit more cop on, this is something so simple on any level. Do the professionals not understand how important it is to build a relationship and earn trust with someone on the spectrum? These appointments for me were a waste of valuable resources as I did not benefit in anyway. How difficult would it be to arrange for me to see the same doctor twice, and one with a good knowledge of ASD? Autism is not necessarily a learning disability nor a mental health condition although someone on the spectrum can have a learning disability or mental health needs.
I am sorry to be so negative in this Blog but for things to be better we must acknowledge what is wrong first. Maybe someone reading this can begin to implement changes in some small way that will make life easier for those on the spectrum and allow us to lead lives where we are fully included in society