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I am walking 1000 miles in 2018 to raise money for the invaluable Family Support Service at The Kent Autistic Trust.
My husband had a breakdown in his early forties, and needed support from mental health services for several years. Although he made a gradual recovery, there were many areas where he struggled to make progress, and he unfortunately did not become well enough to return to work. I heard a talk from one of Kent Autistic Trust's Family Support Officers which highlighted, amongst other things, the sensory sensitivities which some people with autism experience. My husband is oversensitive to light, sound, taste, smell and touch, and we soon realised that he may be autistic. KAT told us how to request a diagnosis, and my husband was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in his mid-forties. At last the struggles he had experienced throughout his life began to make sense, and he realised where some of his difficulties stemmed from. KAT provided helpful information and advice; my husband was offered the opportunity to attend a social skills group, and I had the opportunity to attend support groups for those caring for an adult on the autistic spectrum, both of these groups helping to reduce feelings of isolation. The Family Support worker was also a great source of support when it came to claiming benefits, putting together an appeal and attending the tribunal. Without her support we have no idea how we would have coped with the high stress levels caused by having to pull together necessary evidence. With her support, my husband won his appeal!
I am raising money for KAT's Family Support service because I want others to be able to benefit from the type of support which has been so invaluable to us. Living with, or supporting someone with, autism, including Asperger Syndrome, has many challenges. As it is a hidden disability, many people living with autism are misunderstood and they often feel alone and isolated, struggling to fit into a world which they don't understand and which often doesn't understand them. For those who have high intelligence levels, a lot of frustration can result from not being able to use their skills to participate in work or other activities because these also require social skills which they struggle with. It is not unusual for an autistic person to end up with mental health problems on top of the difficulties they were already experiencing, making life even more challenging for them. Their families often struggle to know where to turn for support, encouragement and advice, how best to help the person they love, and how to support them to lead as good a quality of life as possible.
KENT AUTISTIC TRUST FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICE works across Kent and Medway to provide information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including Asperger Syndrome, and to adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including Asperger Syndrome, and their families.
Please support me in helping raise funds for this vital service!!
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