As a parent, learning your child has a disability can be challenging to come to terms with. But with expert advice from dedicated charities, we can work together to allow disabled children the opportunity to flourish in an inclusive society.
We are all created unique, and we all have the right to a bright future. And, the dedicated team at Caudwell Children is helping to support children and young people on the autistic spectrum.
“See the child, not the disability” is the mantra for Caudwell Children. Their Caudwell Children Autism Service was fully launched in May 2019, but their services have been supporting children, young people and families for 20 years.
“Society has been developed in a way that we immediately see the limitations that any kind of disability many have on a person’s life, instead of first getting to know someone and finding out who they are and what they are capable of,” emphasises Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children.
“I guarantee most people would be surprised and impressed at the positive contribution disabled children can have on our lives.”
“I also wish more people recognised that we are all different,” adds Trudi. “We all react and behave differently to different situations or environments.”
And this is part of the work carried out by Caudwell Children.
Providing a range of services, Caudwell Children do things slightly differently – utilising their dedicated multidisciplinary clinical team.
Working alongside speech and language specialists, occupational therapists, psychologists, learning disability nurses, speciality doctors and more in a purpose built environment.
Trudi explains: “We have everything we need to offer a comprehensive assessment and post-diagnostic support pathway all under one roof.
“We have first class purpose built rooms for individual assessment of children and for interviewing parents and carers as well as larger group rooms to assess children interacting with each other.
“We also have purpose-designed rooms for occupational therapy assessments.
“The result of this offering is that we are able to provide high quality assessment and feedback, with reduced waiting times from referral to diagnosis, which can be as little as six weeks, with feedback being provided shortly after.
“Following a diagnosis, we make recommendations and provide resources based on these, and an Action Plan is drawn up in consultation with families,” Trudi adds.
“During the course of the following year we provide child and family centred workshops aimed at increasing understanding and knowledge of autism.”
Through this method of working, the team at Caudwell Children can become a lifeline to help your child be further nurtured, developed and grow into an independent adult.
“Our vision is to create a world where disabled children and their families have choice, opportunity, dignity and understanding,” emphasises Trudi.
The charity is already working to broaden horizons, having recently introduced a new dedicated research department.
There is a lot to celebrate at Caudwell Children, however, now in their twentieth year the charity has had to put celebrations on hold due to the current COVID-19 situation. Even so, the future looks bright for the charity and the hard work they are doing to help autistic children and young people.
Trudi enthuses: “Some specific aims in the next 20 years include a demonstrable reduction in nationwide waiting times for ASC assessments, improved post-diagnostic support for autistic children evidenced by clearer revised NICE guidelines, improved private and public sector understanding and employment provision for disabled young people.
“We have a lot we want to achieve but we are confident that through effective collaboration and with the amazing talent we have in the team at Caudwell Children, we can achieve anything.”
Coming to terms with a diagnosis of autism, or another disability, is always hard for a parent or loved one. And even more so in the uncertain times that we are living in.
But, continued support and guidance is available from many charities and organisations. And it’s important to know that you are not going through this alone, the team at Caudwell Children is on hand to provide support or guidance during times of extreme stress.
“Disabled children and their families are feeling isolated, fearful and confused and need our help more than ever,” explains Trudi.
“Yet, the increased burden placed on the NHS and social services by the coronavirus outbreak means that many services for disabled children will be adversely impacted for the foreseeable future.
“Caudwell Children are committed to providing a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable disabled children and families at this challenging time.
“Protecting some of the most vulnerable in our society is what we do every day at Caudwell Children, and in the midst of this crisis our work is needed more than ever.”
The future is bright for children and young people with a learning disability, even in the strange times we find ourselves in. With a dedicated team at Caudwell Children breaking down barriers, providing education, and raising awareness, we can all work to see the child and not just the disability.