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Closed 10/08/2019

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    Weʼve raised £0 to Funding to promote our charity Auti.Ms to raise awareness of female autism. We will be setting up social groups but need funding to do this.

    Bristol
    Closed on Saturday, 10th August 2019

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    Story

    Auti.Ms

    …Not just for boys

    Founded to “advance the public's understanding, professional and general, in England and Wales, of the prevalence and needs of females with ASC. We aim to raise awareness and promote the development of research and activities to further the knowledge of female ASC and to better identify those effected”.

    About me:

    Sophie McInnes

    My name is Sophie and I’m 24. I have a degree from Bristol University but have had a very challenging couple of years and this is my story and why I have founded this charity to help others.

    It’s Anorexia

    In 2014 I was diagnosed with Anorexia, I received outpatient treatment for eating disorders but I got worse.

    In 2016 I became an inpatient in an eating disorders unit and faced huge obstacles and was put on various medication. Things deteriorated further and I became a completely different person. After five weeks I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and transferred to the general hospital and force-fed through Nasal-Gastric tube. It was all highly traumatic and totally horrendous and I felt my needs (hate of change, social difficulties…) were being ignored facing constant change, disruption, uncertainties and was inappropriately placed on a busy communal ward with patients suffering many different conditions and felt highly uncomfortable. I then got moved again after a further six weeks back to the eating disorders unit.

    After an additional five weeks and further sectioning I was taken off my section to be kicked out of the unit for not eating! I complained throughout the whole admission that I was different to the other patients in the eating disorders unit but was I just ignored, medicated and told I was psychotic and ill, you can imagine what this did to me mentally.

    I then began a year long journey back with my family, who were not receiving any support, and given weekly brief outpatient appointments. I saw this treatment was having little impact and paid privately for a personal trainer, very slowly putting on weight. After a few weeks I became more obsessive and anxious again and my outpatient treatment was completely stopped because it wasn’t ‘working’. I then spent a few more months, struggling along at home finishing my degree, slowly deteriorating again suffering from anxiety, obsessions and all the effects of physical starvation.

    Turning point, you’re Autistic

    Then year my mum, a Dr and Lecturer came across an Aspergers article and said it sounded like me. After much discussion ma and my mum went to the Dr and got a referral straight away for an NHS ASD assessment but had to wait 8 months.

    I had to wait out these months before attending this ASD assessment which was to my utter disappointment was brief and I was quickly dismissed because I had already been diagnosed with Anorexia and that was all ‘it’ was and what was causing my current difficulties, they didn’t want to know about my childhood difficulties. I was beside myself as it was clear to me, my family and friends there was something to my mum’s findings.

    I then paid for a proper private assessment from an expert Cambridge graduated Psychologist and spent five hours being assessed, mainly discussing my childhood difficulties (there had been many but these had always been overlooked). It was then that I was then diagnosed with Aspergers!

    Following my diagnosis I began a new course of outpatient treatment in the Cheltenham eating disorders service for my Eating disorder. Nothing changed and things actually got worse again. The service then questioned my Anorexia diagnosis, which I had previously suggested 3 years ago, but not one person took me seriously! I then after a further few weeks received a psychiatric assessment and was FINALLY diagnosed formally with Aspergers and OCD and Anxiety! I don’t have anorexia and never have, although I am a very low weight and do have disordered eating.

    I have always been highly anxious and obsessive and now with my low weight my Autistic traits have been exacerbated and it’s one vicious cycle from which I am stuck. My obsessions and adversities to change keep me stuck although I really want to put on weight! I am now finally being referred to a new service, with new medication and treatment for my real condition, my OCD, with the aim of gaining weight and managing my obsessions and anxieties to finally get my life back on track!

    I struggle with low moods and self esteem now and feel very frustrated and helpless and resent the time the illness and lack of appropriate treatment has had on my life.

    Looking ahead:

    From my traumatic experience I have been spending much time trying to highlight my cause, research this issue and help others.

    I have been on he Victoria Derbyshire show:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47359416?fbclid=IwAR1nt2eLjx85kt9B6LxQSi5tlFXW1sbRZEMrl2940_cpWje2VFvQ3VQRVoA

    And have had an article in the Bristol post:

    https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/i-thought-going-mad-bristol-2633006?fbclid=IwAR2BmelWj3Ntm4tNaoTSuMgnmlTbrcWOdX610HQ6lRBCFh9W-5Qj0qUSebA

    I now really want to help others who are autistic and have ‘slipped through the net’ so they don’t get to this crisis point and have to suffer like I have. I want this charity to highlight this cause and help progress further research into the field. I initially wanted to conduct future PhD research in the area of females and Autism with the aim to improve early diagnosis but could not get a grant to conduct this. I have a passion to highlight the impacts of mental illness and how this may be driven by undiagnosed autism, especially in high functioning girls.

    Auti.Ms

    The what:

    This is the first charity aimed at solely raising awareness of females with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), especially those who are high-functioning

    The charity aims to get recognition from other Autism charities, mental health charities (Mind, Beat, Mental Health UK) and public support to highlight the extent and nature of this issue.

    The why:

    Currently there is a lack of awareness and understanding of Autism in females which this has led to the under/mis diagnosis of the condition and other related adversities.

    Why?:

    Female Autism is under researched - little is known about the symptoms.

    The current diagnostic criteria is male oriented and inappropriate for girls.

    Professionals working with children: (teachers, doctors, social workers, paediatricians) lack an understanding of females with Autism.

    Clinicians working within Autism and Mental Health Service are also unaware of the effects of Autism in girls.

    Currently many girls with ASC are not diagnosed leaving them misunderstood, socially isolated and their needs not met. Many struggle daily, in silence which can have a negative, long-term impact on girls’ self-esteem, confidence and mental wellbeing

    In addition, many girls who get referred for an Autism assessment do not meet the current male oriented criteria, not diagnosed and do receive sufficient support: emotional, social or academic which can cause, serious and preventable mental health conditions (Depression, Anxiety, Eating disorders, OCD).

    Girls who face adversities which are diagnosed may not be receiving appropriate treatment due to the lack of identification of a possible underlying ASC. In addition, even when girls have received a positive ASC diagnosis services are not well informed of females with ASC and how best to tailor the treatment

    It is NOW, more than ever, with the rising mental health adversities facing society, a VITAL need to improve our received a positive ASC diagnosis services are not well informed of females with ASC and how best to tailor the treatment

    These girls are therefore less able to reach their potential and are being failed by society and being referred to as ‘the lost generation’.

    It is NOW, more than ever, with the rising mental health adversities facing society, a VITAL need to improve our collective understanding of how Autism presents and effects girls on the spectrum.

    There needs to be:

    a greater understanding amongst the public into Autism in females

    Better informed professionals, clinicians and those working with children so more girls are recognised as Autistic and their need met

    a appropriate diagnostic criteria for ASC in girls

    better informed Mental health services so treatment is tailored to meet these girl’s needs and the correct treatment can be given

    More research into girls with ASC

    Appropriate support for females with autism

    The how:

    Auti.Ms will…

    Raise awareness of females with ASC in society

    Raise money for vital research in the field

    Raise money and enhance the spread of awareness for more effective: campaigns, adverts, leaflets and propaganda

    Raise money and deliver workshops to clinicians, professionals and others working with children on how to spot the signs of females with ASC.

    Provide resources and support directly for females with Autism.

    Initially the charity will begin on a local scale with Trustees and volunteers.

    Business model:

    CEO - Sophie McInnes

    Trustees and volunteers - Head of services, marketing, finance, legal affairs, policy and fundraising

    All involved will:

    Shape the aims and general approach of the charity

    Help set up the charity

    Impact the activities and direction of the charity

    Engage supporters

    Attract further third party support/volunteers

    How our funds/support will be spent/used…

    Raise awareness of females with ASC in society

    Money to hold talks/workshops - rental costs for stalls/venues, money to speakers(?), money for resources to distribute

    Money for producing resources - printing, payments to platforms

    Support to develop the contents of - talks, workshops, materials to distribute at events

    Raise money for vital research in the field

    For university research - eventually become a sponsor

    Academics to undertake research

    Raise money to enhance the spread of awareness for more effective: campaigns, adverts, leaflets and propaganda

    Money for producing resources on a larger scale/more influential platforms - printing, payments to platforms

    Money for distributing resources - advertising costs, membership fees

    Support in reaching our beneficiaries and raising awareness of our charity - websites, media, businesses, connections

    Raise money to hold and deliver workshops to clinicians, professionals and others working with children on how to spot the signs of females with ASC.

    Support in creating resources to distribute

    Support from professionals in delivering workshops to schools/clinicians

    Initially the charity will begin on a local scale with Trustees and volunteers.

    Help distribute resources

    Help deliver/set up talks/workshops

    Help produce resources - website

    Help to make connections

    facebook twitter Our website

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    Sophie McInnes

    Updates appear here

      5 months ago

      Sophie McInnes started crowdfunding

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      Page last updated on: 4/12/2019 18.29

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        About Crowdfunding
        About the fundraiser
        Sophie McInnes

        Sophie McInnes

        Bristol

        Founded to advance the public's understanding, professional and general, of the prevalence and needs of females with ASC. We aim to raise awareness and promote the development of research and activities to further the knowledge of female ASC and to better identify those effected.

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