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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
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In May of last year we had Patrick, our 10 year-old, assessed by a Handle practitioner. The assessment lasted about 2 hours. Patrick was interviewed and was given several tasks to do. The assessment was partly to see how well he did the tasks, but more about seeing how he coped with the situation.


The next day we went back and had another 2 hour session in which Cathy, the assessor. explained what she had observed and how this fitted in with the Handle philosophy. (We were also given videos of the assessment and the report back session to take away.)


Patrick was given a series of exercises to be done each day. We have had a couple of follow-up sessions in which the exercises were modified. They take about 20 minutes each day. Cathy also recommended that Patrick cut back his intake of sugar as much as possible, which he has done. He no longer has cereal for breakfast (he has croissants and bacon), and is not allowed sweets at lunch time (he has fruit instead).


Cathy explained that Patrick's systems are stressed. The exercises are designed to help calm that stress. Removing sugar and caffeine also helps. The exercises also help develop those parts of the brain that are under-developed in people with AS.


It is not a miracle 'cure', but we have noticed definite improvements in Patrick's behaviour. He sleeps much better ? before Handle he was gioing to sleep after 10 and waking at about 5-5.30. His handwriting has improved beyond recognition. He is more amenable to coming off Playstation and the computer, and he has fewer meltdowns.


Handle has a website http://www.handle.org/ where some of the exercises are explained.


It is difficult to explain Handle in just a few sentences. We recommend a recently-published book by the founder called The Fabric of Autism. It is available from Anna McCosh, Culter Craigs, Coulter, Biggar, Lanarkshire ML12 6PZ. Price �12.50 plus �2.10 p&p.


Colin & Shelagh

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That sounds really interesting...is it similar to the work that is done by the DDAT centre?

What really interested me were the comments made under this website's Autism info section....there was a reference made to how the brain reacts at birth...(something along those lines, anyway...)

The Neuro specialist we saw told us about athways that exists in the brain in utero and that these should break down at, or soon after birth. He said that in our son's case, many of these pathways had not dissolved, and it was akin to a poor rewiring job by a dodgy electrician. (Not his words....they were altogether too long and hard to spell!!! ;) ) It all boiled down to the fact that there are lots of mixed messages, poorly conducted messages, etc....and on top of that, some damage resulting from the birth too!!

There's quite a lot of research going on into retraining parts of the brain to carry out different jobs. Okay, I think this is foccussed on Head Injury, but I wonder if it would help regarding ASD's?

I know that the DDAT centres work around this concept, for the neurological reasons above.......I tink I'll see if I can get a hold of this book guys!

It sounds v. interesting to me!


Esther x

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Hi Colin and Shelagh,


I'm pleased that you have found something that works for your son. I wish you all continued success with the therapy, as it's not easy to find a method of treatment/therapy which actually benefits a child, so well done to you.



Edited by Helen

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Hi Esther


We don't know much about DDAT, but yes the thinking behind Handle is to remake pathways in the brain - in the same way that stroke victims do exercises to regain abilities they have lost.


However there is more to it than this. Handle also looks at diet, environment, how we take in sensory information, eyesight etc.


The Handle approach is used to address a number of neurological conditions, including ASD.


We recommend the book. Occasionally there are meetings held to explain Handle's approach, including a free introductory session. We went to one in Essex last year, and we believe there is one soon in Huddersfield.


Colin & Shelagh

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I've found details of the next Handle introductory course.


It's at Highfields School, Huddersfield on Friday 24 September from 6-9pm. Entrance to this session is free.


Details from jewatson@ntlworld.com.



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