Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects individuals’ physical behaviour, communication and social skills. Recent figures published by Autistica stated that the UK spends £32bn a year, which is higher than heart disease (£12bn) and heart disease (£8bn). This £32 billion is a calculated fugure based on what is spent on treatment, care and support, as well as people’s loss of income as a result of being on the spectrum and/ or living with someone who has Autism. Autistica’s report also highlighted the importance of developing better interventions that are effective in order to make better use of resources that are scarce.
It should be pointed out that the figures have also revealed that there is very little money spent on Autism research compared to care. On average, only a mere £180 is spent on research for every £1 million spent on care. That is £6.60 per person spent on research. This clearly needs to change as effective interventions should be developed and evaluated as latest figures show that over 600,000 people in the UK have Autism.
The BBC reported that a female teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College has been stabbed to death. A 15 year old male student has been arrested.
The Science of Dr. Who starring Prof. Brian Cox and Matt Smith (a.k.a. The 11th Dr.) is a scientific look at the beloved British programme. Enjoy!
UK supermarket giant Asda has apologised for their hugely inappropriate halloween costume marketed as the ‘Mental Patient Fancy Dress Costume’ which featured fake blood, a mask and a fake meat cleaver. They have withdrawn the sale of the said product and pledged to donate £25,000 to Charity Mind after they were bombarded with tweets from offended individuals such as ex-footballer Stan Collymore and charities such as Rethink Mental Illness.
Tesco, who had a similarly absurd ‘psycho ward’ costume (boiler suit, mask and machete) also withdrew their product subsequently and like Asda, have issued offical apologies.
As an advocate for teaching mental health awareness and diversity, I am hugely offended and horrified by the sale and advertisement of the costumes. We are still living in an age where people with mental illnesses are stigmatized, and stupid publicity stunts such as this is totally unacceptable. Not only does it fuel the negative stereotype but it also gives the masses an opportunity to publicly mock those who are living with mental illnesses. I am sure that they are aware of the fact that several people have killed themselves because they could not live with the stigma.
In addition, neither of these costumes accurately depict people with mental illness. Having visited many psychiatric wards and mental institutions, and having worked with people with psychiatric conditions, I have not seen anyone who dressed and looked like the pictures on Asda’s and Tesco’s advertisements. The mentally ill need support, understanding and acceptance. They certainly do not need any public mockery such as this. Apologies and donations are not enough.
Below are Youtube links to a fascinating documentary which featured the daily lives of three men who have Autism. I am sharing this because it highlights how different individuals with Autism are to one another. It also shows how challenging life can be if you or one of your family members have Autism.
What is it like to grow up with Autism? How hard could the transition to adulthood be? Is it easy to find a job? What about finding a girlfriend? If you want to find out, watch the clips below:
REMEMBER: It is important to know what it is like to live with Autism in order for us to understand them better. Knowing more about this condition will help us build better relationships, and communicate and work with them effectively.
More on Autism:
Autism in the classroom:
Inspiring People with Autism:
More on Savants:
Having had a busy and stressful few weeks, I felt like I needed a bit of a break to recharge my ‘batteries’. This morning, I’ve decided to get out of the house and walk around Salford Quays (Manchester, England), dragging my partner along. Since the sun decided to show up today- which is extremely rare here in Manchester, the full colours of Autumn are in display. Needless to say, today was one of the best opportunities to take some photos. Here are some of mine:
Let’s take a closer look at those trees:
Here’s my partner, taking a photo of her shoes (for Instagram? You bet!):
The Lowry footbridge, a.k.a. The Millennuim Bridge:
The sun’s rays beaming directly on the Imperial War Museum North:
Salford Quays Basin:
BBC Studios and MediaCityUK:
Seeing these Autumn colours made me feel ready to take on the challenges of the following weeks!