Autism diagnoses have been increasing throughout the world’s population in the last few decades, having now reached the point of one in 100 people in the UK, according to the National Autistic Society. Awareness has also grown exponentially, and support in schools for autistic children is far better than it used to be.
However, one of the most important aspects of education is mental health – this is for any child, but particularly for those with autism, because anxiety tends to be associated with autism. As our course on autism and mental health teaches, people with autism have to learn to function in a society that is not designed for them. In addition to everyday concerns, such as finishing a project or making sure to remember a packed lunch, the classic concern for autistic people is whether they will remember how to read someone’s social cues.
Because autism and mental health, in general, have come to the forefront, support in these areas has been increasingly established in schools. Children with autism – and, indeed, all children – are more likely to grow up in a world that will be accommodating to their needs in school, and eventually in the workplace. In the course, we will learn how attention is being focused in schools and the wider world on the mental health of autistic children. Social skills are taught to children with autism so it is easier for them to interact with their peers, and autism awareness is promoted among the wider student population, so children without autism will understand how to interact with their autistic peers. Autism is promoted among the general population as an alternate wiring of the brain, a mental health status in itself, and nothing for the individual to be ashamed of – unlike the stigma that was attached to it in previous decades.
Signs of autism usually show up in early childhood, and the most common is when a young child finds it difficult to communicate with others at the level considered appropriate for their age. Our Autism & Children’s Mental Health course, designed for professionals who work with autistic people, or anyone interested in autism and the people who present with it, offers a comprehensive look at autism and the mental health of autistic children in particular.