Minutes of the Seventeenth
Post-Diagnostic Support Group
7th December 2016
Today’s group was attended by 38 people.
A presentation from Dr Sudharsan who carried out a question and answer session on ‘People on the Autism Spectrum, co-occuring mental health conditions and also medication and the impact of medication’.
Dr Sudharsan spoke and opened floor for discussion
Linda asked about whether he had noticed that often people with Autism had paradoxical effects (opposite effects to what might be expected from some medications) and also on occasion, minor doses having a big impact and other medications having a very small impact.
Dr Sudharsan quite rightly pointed out that there is no medication available purely for autism, however, people may has associated depression and he spoke about various anti-depressants including those that impact on Serotonin and those that impact on Noradrenaline production. He also spoke about when anti-psychotics can be useful and also the impact of ADHD medication
Dream spoke about Serotonin based medication which made him quite ill causing nausea. When ‘Conerta XL’ was prescribed for his ADHD, this was much more effective for him. Dr Sudharsan spoke about the fact that Serotonin is not only produced in the Brain, but also produced in the stomach and this might account for some of the side effects. He pointed out that Serotonin based medications impact on everyone, causing nausea, but that usually clears up after a few days.
A question was asked about medication for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr Sudharsan spoke about needing to weigh up the positives from the medication versus the side effects, such as weight gain, personality change, drowsiness.
Dr Surharsan spoke about the fact that it is really important that there is regular follow-up and if medication isn’t working, it needs to have regular reviews.
Dr Sudharsan then went on to talk about the fact that we need more funding and training across society to raise awareness of autism, that he felt it was not good that there was no coherent service in the NHS for Autism after diagnosis.
A question was asked about how it might be difficult for Dr Sudharsan to notice people with Autism in adult life where they had got very used to masking their symptoms, particular women who may be very adept at masking their difficulties. At this point, Dr Sudharsan spoke about the vital importance of gaining a clinical history and also noticing where things might not follow the usual pattern, for example, people with very black and white thinking and people with difficulties with change, inflexibility.
Dr Sudharsan did recommend that people do their own research on the internet and to present their thoughts to the GP. Further discussion about medication occurred, about the importance of Beta blockers potentially for anxiety in certain situations.
A question was asked, can you have anxiety without depression, one client was told that you couldn’t. Dr Sudharsan cleared up this misnomer.
“don’t suffer in silence, your health is most important, change your Doctor if they don’t listen”
We then had a break. Where 2 cakes were provided by Calvin. One was a Gluten free fruit cake and the other was a Deliciously Moist Cake from the game Portal, this is the cake of the month.
The feedback from the group was that Dr Sudharsan was extremely informative.
We discussed about the previous group where we discussed rules about the group including being respectful to each other and also about confidentiality. Linda bought up, what about if you see somebody outside of the group or indeed a member of Axia, would you want to be acknowledged or not. Linda explained her position, that if she saw somebody and they were with someone she didn’t know, she would not make the first acknowledgement, but would wait to see whether the individual would want to be acknowledged. Different members of the group, understandably had very different ideas about whether they would want to be acknowledged or not, some did, some didn’t. This also led on to the fact that, common in people on the Autism Spectrum is that they often don’t recognize people by their faces. There is a phenomenon called Prosopagnosia which basically means that facial recognition is not something that is easy for the person to do, so it could be that the person isn’t ignoring you, but actually doesn’t recognize you.
Addendum by Dream. Ronnie reminded us that it was around this point he raised the very pertinent fact that, in his words, he had recognised
“Failure to realise Calvin was at the meeting for about 30 minutes until Linda started speaking to Calvin which I was Honest enough to admit and thought it was very funny and was a significant Factual Funny Contribution to the Facial Recognition Subject. I think the group was laughing like me seeing the Funny Side and very relevant to the Facial Recognition Subject.”
Autism Alert Cards
A number or books were recommended by the group, including, Panicosaurus By Kay Al-Ghani which was recommended by client and also Something different about dad by John Swogger and Kirsti Evans.
Helen had read Pretending To Be Normal by Liane Holliday and had given a review on the website, she described it as good and helpful with a lasting effect on her. We then discussed Steve Silberman’s book Neurotribes which is an excellent book but is quite lengthy, one of the group members pointed out that there are some very good YouTube videos of Steven Silberman talking about the content of his book. There was another book about young people with intellectual disabilities and autism hit puberty’.
“Why do we have to put a label on people who think differently”
Gift Ideas for Xmas
Calvin then did a presentation on gift ideas.
- DVDs: Long way north. When Marnie was there.
- Comics: Scott Snyder Batman series
- Anime: Sword Art on Line. Your lie in April. Fate stay night
- Manga: My hero Academia. Food wars
- Games: Superfight (card game)
His Ultimate recommendation was a subscription to Loot Crates (anime and gaming) and/or a Crunchyroll account and/or a Funamation Account as gifts
Finally there wasn’t time to discuss it, but we decided, following on from what Dr Sudharsan had said about raising awareness and our previous discussions about celebrating Autism Pride that we could combine an Autism awareness and a celebration of Autism Pride. It was decided to give over the whole of the next group to planning for Autism Pride to include Autism awareness.
The next group will be on:
Wednesday 18 January 2017 between 12pm-2pm at Crewe Lifestyle Centre.
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