I went back to work today after a few days off over New Year. I work in a team that supports families bringing up children with Autism, which is a lifelong developmental disability. The children I support also have Severe Learning Difficulties and they’ve been referred to our team because they have challenging behaviour as well. We work closely with the children and their families at home and at school. Together we develop strategies that we hope will help them.
Because most of the children have severe communication difficulties they can’t tell us what they need, or want, or how they feel. Even though the families know their children very well, it can still be difficult to work out why a child is behaving in a particular way. Sometimes I feel a bit like Miss Marple trying to piece together clues to find out how to help.
The team is made up of nurses, psychologists, social workers, doctors and people like me who’ve worked with disabled children for a long time. My role is to support the families and provide practical help.
Everybody I work with is very supportive of me, and my tics are never treated as a problem. I think having a disability and sometimes behaving in a way that some people find challenging makes me particularly determined to ensure that these children and their families don’t become excluded or isolated and that they have the help they need to thrive, learn and be happy.