Our callers include individuals on the spectrum, parents, grandparents, siblings, and professionals. All ages of people contact us from those in their late teens to those over 80.
What type of advice do people need?
People mainly call for pre and post-diagnostic support. They can be struggling after they receive a diagnosis and need information about accessing resources, training and services in their local area. Often when people receive a diagnosis they are left wondering ‘‘what next?’’
Calls can also often involve helping someone to access a support group in their local area. We find that support from other parents going through the same issues can highlight shared struggles and reduce isolation.
Every caller’s needs are unique and are responded to in a professional and confidential manner. Previous users of our Advice Line service have benefited from advice on a range of issues such as toileting, eating and sleeping, and more sensitive issues like depression and anxiety are also common lines of enquiry.
What is your background?
I have a Psychology degree and I previously worked in adult autism services in Fife for three years as a Support Worker, then as an Autism Practitioner, before joining the Autism Support Team in December 2013. I have also studied through the Open University and I am a trained sleep counsellor.
What do you enjoy most about working on the Advice Line?
I enjoy hearing the relief and the lightbulb moments that you can give people. You take for granted the amount you know as an advisor, but a small nugget of information can change the way people look at things and help them realise that they are not alone. Some callers feel hopeless at first and have reached the end of their tether and we can give them an avenue to try or an alternative to what hasn’t been working for them.
Why do you think it’s important to have an Advice Line?
Our Advice Line offers impartial, confidential advice for people with autism, their families, carers and professionals. Unlike other providers, we can offer emotional support as well as service information, signpost to research and a point of contact for information. As the advice is not given face to face, it is much less daunting to give us a call. Talking to our advisors via email or over the phone is a pressure free way to speak to someone. You can remain anonymous if you want and know that we are here to help whatever your problem.