To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, we wanted to do our bit in spreading awareness and increase acceptance of this wide and complex condition affecting so many people of all ages.

What is autism?

One in 100 people are autistic; there are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. Autism is a lifelong condition which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’.

Autism is a spectrum condition, so while all autistic people share certain difficulties, being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, which means they need different levels of support and care. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop and can, given the right sort of support, live a fulfilling life of their own choosing.

Like everyone, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses but all autistic people can struggle with communication and experience anxiety around unexpected change. This is not to say that those with Autism don’t have their own strengths too. These include:

  • intense focus
  • attention to detail
  • considered and reflective approach
  • honesty and integrity
  • creative thinking

Caring for an autistic person

The pressures of living with and supporting people who see the world very differently, who can appear unresponsive or who can be destructive and violent, can be considerable. Such pressures are typically lifelong, and can persist whether or not the autistic person lives with their carer. Some autistic adults will not see that they need support, even if their families are under strain.

At Carers Support, we have specialist teams who can offer support and information and signpost to a wide variety of local and national organisations.  Our Autism Team can support you with*:

  • A call from someone with knowledge and understanding of autism to discuss your caring role and concerns
  • A monthly email with autism information for carers
  • Information, signposting and referrals to organisations that may help you and the person you care for.
  • Applying for the Carer Wellbeing fund

We also offer specialised support those caring with mental health difficulties and for those with drug & alcohol issues.

General support/resources

Autism Support Crawley supports parents and carers of autistic adults and children.

Alongside Autism offer training and one-to-one sessions to autistic adults. The service can be accessed via groups, one-to-one sessions and via Skype.

Impact Initiatives Self Advocacy groups

Asperger’s Voice

*Please note: Carers Support West Sussex had to make the difficult decision to suspend all carer support groups and other face to face activities from 17th March 2020 until further notice.

This is a proactive step to protect the wellbeing of carers and the person you are caring for, our volunteers, staff and the wider community. We will focus our resources on supporting carers via phone and online support.

Our teams are working tirelessly to come up with alternative solutions to deliver peer-to-peer support.

Please keep checking our social media channels and our website for updates.

Our Response line 0300 028 8888 is still open:

Monday               9am – 5pm

Tuesday               9am – 5pm

Wednesday        9am – 7pm

Thursday             9am – 5pm

Friday                   9am – 5pm

Saturday              10am – 12pm

Give us a call to find out how we can support you in caring for someone with Autism. Alternatively, email us at info@carerssupport.org.uk and one of our team will get back to you.