Children In Need brings about some autism awareness

21 Nov

Pudsey on Broadcasting House

Image by Rupert Brun via Flickr

Goodness me… what a week it’s been, Friday I spent the night crying over Children In Need, Saturday I helped pick the two new faces of the new Argos kidswear range (I will share my experience a tad later in another post) Sunday I spent alday throwing up! Yep, you heard right, I was unfortunately the sufferer of some nasty tummy bug that has actually resulted in me receiving little sleep and explains why I’m blogging at the ghastly hour of 4.16 am in the early hours!

Sunday was actually set to be a great end to an awesome weekend! I was sent tickets to the multimedia screening of Happy Feet 2 in 3D at the empire Leicester Square and was dead disappointed not to be able to go.
I expect that I missed out on an awesome film, and can’t wait till it officially hits the big screen now so I can make it up to the kids, especially Little man who despite his sensory related problems was still prepared to give it a go! He had become taken in by the whole 3d aspect of the film meaning he didn’t want to miss it😦 Mummy is truly sorry kids!

One thing I didn’t miss was Children In Need which was screened on BBC1 on the night of Friday 18th November. I made myself a warm drink, naughtily sneaked some chocolate from the fridge and jumped in my cosy bed at an early 7.30 pm to settle down and watch the yearly show. Children in need has always had the ability to make me cry, I just become a sobbing mess, with streaming makeup leaving me resembling something other than human. I really didn’t fancy getting emotional in front of my kids hence the reason why I had retreated to my bedroom, only their kids and kids always follow and that’s exactly what happened! My big cosy bed became an overheated space containing one big and three little people who continuously asked “Mum are you crying?”

One thing I was really pleased to see, was that Children in need had not only featured a clip highlighting autism, but also one raising awareness for Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, the world still has a long way to come, but doesn’t this show that we are already much further now than ever before?

The Clip highlighted the daily struggles of a young man with aspergers who needed support to be able to travel independently both two and from college. Children in need highlighted that it cost £55 per day for a child with Aspergers to receive such support through the travel training programme.

I think people often forget that when our children come to that school-leaving age everything begins to change. You see many off you will relate when I say we spend most of the primary years and at times, secondary years of our children’s education, fighting for a statement, school and of course a means to get to that chosen school and back home again.

Those lucky enough to eventually receive all of the above, will likely not have even began to think about the next step, the transition from the secondary years to the education their child will receive once they are 16 plus. Unless your child is staying on at school, where they have been appointed a place in the sixth form it’s likely that your child’s transport arrangement will be no more.

Once your child steps foot in that college it would seem that any legal duty the LEA once had is fast becoming non-existent. Did you know that due to the withdrawal of transport, many children on the autism spectrum and those with additional needs, never go to college, not because they don’t want too, simply because they can’t.

Travel training schemes differ in each area and are often offered by schools and LEAs to children still in school in-order to cut the cost of door to door pick ups and drop offs funded by the LEA. It is normally left to voluntary and charitably organisations to deliver travel schemes to the older child, and even adult. The scheme itself will also differ in what it offers depending on who’s providing it! The aim is to get the child using public transport services, therefore cutting the cost to both LEAs and social services. Of course many will state it has been enforced purely for the benefit to the child that independent travel brings, Yes, though this may be beneficial to many, I can’t help but think it’s mainly the money-saving aspect of things that holds the greatest benefit of all!

It’s great to know that funds raised through such huge campaigns such as Children in need intend on distributing some of its raised funds to help the Independent travel schemes as this enables young people like the young man they featured in the campaign video, to carry on in education, because education is our child’s basic right. Many voluntary organisation use the funds to provide training on an individualised  level as well as providing “buddies” who accompany a young person on their journey allowing them independence to do what it is they want to be doing, whether that’s carrying on in further education or even going to work.

I think the clip really hit the nail on the head, and did well to highlight many of the difficulties our children have with everyday interaction and anxiety this may bring! It even touched on the subject of isolation, bullying and self harm, areas that are all to commonly associated with children who have a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome.

Children in Need also featured a clip of a young 12-year-old girl who has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and a learning disability. She had become extremely isolated due to the fact the friends she once had as a younger child had now outgrown her, despite her being the same age. The clip highlighted one really important feature, which was, quite often the child is aware of their isolated ways and actually wants to be within a social circle that allows them to interact with others. The thing is, autism often makes this extremely difficulty. Once the young girl had started to attend a special centre for children with a range of additional needs, life has become so much more fulfilling for her, she is no longer lonely or isolated which was not only beneficial for her but her whole family, which could be clearly seen from the interview with her mother.

The fact that their just isn’t the funds to supply more staff as to allow more spaces for children who really need them is heartbreaking, and let’s be honest, it just goes to show the devastating impact the Government cuts have had on our children’s lives and continues too. I for one have a great deal of respect for any charitable organisation who set out to provide respite for children with additional needs, these social clubs and groups provide the children and young people with a degree of independence and the opportunity to make friends they may have never had the chance to make, while parents and carers get that little bit of “Me” time enabling them to be right on form once their child has arrived home.

These are just two examples of how important Children in need is and how it really can change lives. Their was many other clips that touched my heart especially that of Little Elliot who sadly passed away due to Cancer at just 9 years old (the very same cancer my sister had aged 2) Elliot spent his last days in the hospice “Claire House” a wonderful place that sadly may one day vanish due to the lack of money it has coming in to keep it going.

Claire House Children's Hospice

Image via Wikipedia

As a mother to a child of Aspergers I can directly relate to some of the issues highlighted within the Children in Need programme, I donated, because I, like many others want the best for my children and every other child like them. Maybe you didn’t watch the programme or haven’t made a donation, maybe after reading this you will? Every single penny helps to deliver services like those described above, seriously it’s only us as a nation who can really make a difference!

The children in need show which was broadcasted on Friday 18th November 2011 made a record-breaking whooping 26 million, how bloody awesome is that!

It’s not to late to donate, just click HERE

If you missed it, Check out Children in Need on iplayer 

To see some of the places that benefit from Children In Need in your area, Click HERE

Want to learn more about the fantastic work that Claire House Children Hospice do, Click HERE

If like me, you saw the incredible work that Claire House provides to terminally ill children and their families and you want to do more, why not make a donation right now by sending a simple Text to CHG010 £1 to 70070 You can donate £1, £2, £3, £5 or £10 via this method.

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