Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Autism Awareness

April 2nd was World Autism Day.
A little bit late to blog about it, I know, but probably not too late to raise it as an issue.

The autism spectrum is the collective term for a range of conditions that impact on an individual’s social communication, social interaction and social imagination and flexible thinking . Individuals on the spectrum are also likely to have sensory and information processing difficulties that can range from subtle to complex .

Me, some nephews, a son and a dog
As a pharmacist I don't have much to say about autism and its spectrum of disorders which includes Aspergers Syndrome and that is mainly because there aren't any drugs to treat it. Not like diabetes, asthma or chronic pain. I can tell you loads about them because there are hundreds and hundreds of pharmaceuticals to manage the conditions and where there are drugs there is research and money!

However, I do have an interest in Autism as the aunt of an intelligent and articulate Aspie nephew. My sister blogs brilliantly about her Asperger's boy and some of the successes and challenges they face. As my nephew becomes a young adult she is keen to hear from adult Aspies to try to link some of those who have gone through it with those who are experiencing it, and so has set up a new blog called Ask Aspie.
At the other side of puberty is my friend's brother, Brian who was only diagnosed with Asperger's a couple of years ago. He calls himself a write, actor, jobseeker and proud Asperger and his new blog aims to tell his story.

All this got me thinking how many of my customers and patients I deal with every day who are somewhere on the Austism spectrum. Given that 1 in 100 people in Scotland have autism, it is probably a good number. Some of them will have obvious needs. For others it may be more subtle and less obvious. I may just need to take more time to find out their needs or explain a new product, or find a different way to get my point across.

For more information about Autism spectrum disorders, Scottish Autism is a great place to start.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post and thanks for the mention. Interesting. Do you think your job might be easier if you knew you were dealing with an autistic person or would it make no difference?

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  2. Ellen,
    I think it is more about being mindful that lots of the people we deal with every day find communication and social situations tricky for one reason or another. If we always use the same communication methods, we may not always get the best results. Taking the time to find out what people are wanting out of the consultation or interaction is probably half the battle! This applies to all of my patients and not just those with autism.

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