So what's that then Sue from the Brew? An offer of something which is local in Derby, free drinks, discounted meals?
Well no sorry it's not that kind of offer. It's more like the offer of help and support from your local council for everyone with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities from 0-25 years. Every council has to provide one and Derby City Council's can be found on their website which I will leave a link for at the end of this post.
Now you may have not known anything about this or you may have had a look and thought it was a bit rubbish? It has now been passed over to the Family Information Service within Derby City Council and they are wanting to revamp it and make it the central hub to go to for all the information you need as a person with SEN and families too.
The Local Offer is for:
The Local Offer should:
quoted from Derby SEND PDF information sheet about The Local Offer which can be found here:
That is the plan and this could be really good with your help. They need as much feedback as possible from you to help them make this service more accessible and user friendly. Laura Corden from the Family Information Service is coming to talk to one of the NAS Derby & District Branch Groups to explain all about this improvement on 23rd November at St Clares School, Rough Heanor Road, Derby DE3 9AZ 7pm-9pm.
If you would like to come along and have your say that would be really good and together we can hopefully help everyone by having all the information for families at the touch of a button.
Take a look at the current Local Offer here at the Derby City Council website at: www.derby.gov.uk/education-and-learning/special-education-needs-disabilities/
If you are out of Derby City and want to access Derbyshire County Councils' Local Offer this can be found at: www.derbyshiresendlocaloffer.org
It would be great to get other feedback from other Councils, so if you are in the UK and think your Local Offer is great and working for your local families then please let us know too.
Don't forget this is a service for you and everyone who will follow through in the future. I personally would love to see this be something of help to people as I know how it is to want the right information and support straight away. The SEND team at Derby City Council are very good for support but this would be and added benefit to access that help and support which is out there in some form but it maybe the case that you don't know about it. Well now you can.
Please do feel free to come along to the meeting, it doesn't cost anything and there are refreshments available, yes and even a biscuit or two.
Thanks for reading today, please do come back tomorrow for Pass the Remote but for now please.........
Oh wow this programme was just great, one of the best I've seen for a while. Chris Packham is just one of the nicest people around and perfect as the new ambassador for the National Autistic Society.
There is nothing like learning about Autism from someone who is living with it. He talked frankly about how he feels in certain situations, how his Aspergers affected his younger years and his coping strategies. I could listen to him for hours and some of what he said I could really relate to myself.
I did worry when he started to look at some of the therapies available in the US which are designed to eradicate Autism. This is only because I am very sceptical about them. Like Chris I also don't believe in cures to get rid of Autism, I do believe in research but I think there is a very big difference. I am a parent of someone with Autism so I have been in the situation where I have wondered about a magic pill, would I want it to go away? Sometimes it is a yes but for other times I would never want to change my son. I understand that in those cases where Autism becomes debilitating and a constant struggle then there is a tendency to grab at anything to make life easier.
I loved the drive he took into Silicon Valley in the US where Google lives and Apple, that was just technology paradise and I got so excited about the positivity of welcoming the strengths of Autism into these companies rather than casting them aside. I saw a quote the other day which said something along the lines of 'You may tease me about my Autism now but I will be your boss in 15 years'. A lot of people with high functioning Autism are not to be underestimated in their ability to work, it just means they may not join you in the canteen or they may miss a works night out but that's ok.
I went to a talk the other day about Sensory Processing and one of the points that I admire about this talk and I have seen it four times now is that it focusses on working with a persons coping mechanism, whether it is flapping, tapping or going through some routine and running with it rather than trying to stop it. People need this process to help them cope and wouldn't it be great in society if everyone understood this and was able to just accept it. Try not to stare at someones behaviour, try and think 'oh that may be Autism'. Are they safe? If so they need to do this to feel ok and that's fine.
When you get home from a busy day you may go to the fridge and pour a glass of wine, or reach for a piece of chocolate, does that make you feel a little better? Relaxed? My thing is a cup of tea, I'm at 'one' when I've had a cuppa so we all need our little habits that help us cope. I maybe shouldn't condone alcohol as a coping strategy but come on, I'm being realistic here - everything in moderation, that's what my grandad would say.
I know it's not always that way. Chris's story about his life is one account of Autism. There are many different people with different levels of Autism which is why we call it a spectrum. What he does do is just allow us into his life and see how one person can cope and how life can be ok if the people around us choose to let us live the lives we want to. It's ok to be alone, it's ok to not go to parties if we want to. I loved it when he was asked to a party in Wales and said 'why would I want to go all the way to Wales and stand in a room not talking to anyone'. I kind of get that and it made me chuckle. We would all love him to go to Meg's graduation wouldn't we? The truth is we can't make him, there's no point in him being uncomfortable and he has a choice. She may be disappointed but she will still love him even if he doesn't go and that's what it's all about.
If you didn't see it, you can catch up on BBC player and I can recommend it if you are affected by Autism or would just like to try and understand a bit more. We need more people talking about their experiences, I'd love to see more women with Autism speak out only because there used to be this myth about Autism affecting more men than women but we know this not to be true. Just a thought.
Anyway I will stop now otherwise I will waffle on forever. I find Autism a fascinating subject and I suppose you could say it's become my special interest, but get me talking and I would probably bore you after a while. I love that I can use this interest though to hopefully help others.
Thanks for reading today, catch me again tomorrow for Pass the Remote, my chat about the weeks tv. For now though........
I attended a seminar this week about Managing Anger with regard to those on the spectrum and how to support families too. It was really interesting and there were some very useful tips for handling certain behaviour, coping with anxiety and the dreaded melt downs.
I must admit that my son doesn't lash out and show his anger too much, he tends to do the opposite and when his anxiety hit's a high he keeps it in so much it comes out in a lot of echolalia and repeated behaviour. When we visited the dentist the other week I noticed that he had to have a sleep afterwards. The sensory implications of having a filling would have been massive and he coped, but exhausted himself.
Although anger can be very visible there are are some who do keep everything in which sometimes can have severe consequences too. My son doesn't always recognise his feelings and masks them quite well. The seminar did cover this as well which was good. I did contemplate whether this would be relevant to our situation as a family but yes it did. Bear that in mind if you get a chance to attend one of these seminars as it does cover coping mechanisms to help with anxiety, therefore helping to reduce the chance of getting to the meltdown stage, if that is at all possible.
The course explains what anger is, how to use the low arousal approach, coping with meltdowns and how to help your child manage their feelings.
If you cannot get to a seminar the booklet that accompanies it is available on the NAS website, just follow this link:
It only costs £5 and has quite a bit of information in there which you can keep referring to when needed. Always find support though if you need to talk to someone. There are many groups available which are great for families to get together and share experiences and information.
I would just like to thank the NAS for allowing this seminar to be given out to us as a branch and we hope it helped everyone who attended. These kind of courses are vital for people to grab solutions and ideas, not everything works for everyone in the same way but a lot of strategies can be adapted to help.
I hope this was useful and thank you so much for reading.
I will be back tomorrow for 'Pass the Remote' but for now take care.
This week shops have been taking part in the Autism Hour which was set up by the National Autistic Society. This is an hour where lights are dimmed, the music is turned down or switched off, information is shared and staff on on hand to help customers understand all about Autism.
Going to a shopping centre can be an ordeal for someone with Autism, it's loud, busy and the lighting can be too bright in some shops. Those people who are on the spectrum will have different opinions about this as it affects people in different ways. For some, no amount of light dimming or quietness will make much difference, there will be other aspects of the shopping experience that will make it difficult for them them to take part.
In a survey 64% of people with autism and their families would rather not go out shopping because of the various factors that make it difficult. A lot of these result in a massive sensory overload. We have seen how this can affect someone in the video the NAS put out a while ago involving Alex, a young boy with Autism and how he would feel as he walked around a shopping centre.
I know I don't like big busy shopping centres but for me it's the people, there are too many and I don't like having to dodge out the way and weave in and out, it's too much. I only like to go shopping if I know what I am going for, get it and then come home or I home shop most of the time. Internet shopping has become a delight for those who find it hard to shop. I particularly like online shopping at Christmas because I just can't stand it becoming even more busier, there's no where to park, it's cold and basically Christmas is for staying at home with a hot chocolate and a good movie and I don't have a diagnosis. My son is the same though, he knows where he wants to go, knows what he wants then that's it, job done, lets go now. If we stay too long he gets very anxious.
There is still time to shop within the Autism Hour this weekend. There are still shops taking part on Sunday. If you need to find out which shops are taking part, head over to the NAS website at www.autism.org.uk
If you are in the Derby area here is a list of some of the Derby stores taking part:
Clarks - Everyday 2nd-8th October during their first hour of opening
Toys R Us Wyvern Way- 8th October 10am
Intu Derby- 2nd October 10am
Sainsbury’s- 2nd October 10am
Superdrug Westfield Centre- 8th October 11am
Lloyds Bank, Iron Gate, St Peters Street- 2nd October 10am
Supergrug Corn Market- 8th October 11am
Virgin Money, Corn Market 2nd October 9am
Halifax, East Street- 2nd October 10am
Pets at Home, Kingsway - 8th October 9.30am
Pets at Home, Meteor- 8th October 9.30am
Even though it is just an hour it is raising that awareness which is important. For a lot of people it's not an enjoyable experience whether you have Autism or not, it's a chore but if we can relieve a bit of stress and anxiety for those who struggle then it has to be a good thing. I hope it continues and it's something that becomes more permanent especially if it helps.
I'd love to know whether anyone has been to shop in one of these hours and have you found it helpful? Is it a waste of time and not helped at all? Are the day/times suitable? Let me know by leaving a comment here or on my Facebook page. The NAS are bound to want a bit of feedback so lets let them know.
Thank you for reading today, please pop back tomorrow for my chit chat about TV which is called 'Pass the Remote'.
Until then take care........
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.