16th March – Swallowing Awareness Day

The medical term for swallowing difficulties is dysphagia.
 
Dysphagia affects 95% of people with Motor Neurone Disease, 65% of people who have had a stroke and around 15 % of people with a learning disability. For children, dysphagia affects up to 40% of infants who are born premature and many more with cerebral palsy. (RCSLT, 2022).
 
Difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing are also prevalent in the autistic community. 
 
Why? 🤔 
 
Sensory Environment 👃 : mealtimes can be overstimulating for people who are sensitive to sensory input, such as light, sound and smell. 
 
Food taste and texture 👅 : some people prefer more bland foods, especially if they are sensitive to taste and smell. Other people who are hyposensitive may prefer stronger flavours. These preferences can impact the variety of foods some autistic people can eat.
 
Food presentation 🥘 : for some autistic people, how food is presented on the plate is important. For example, some individuals find it difficult to eat foods that appear blemished or bruised; whilst others do not want different foods touching.
 
Dentition 🦷 : some autistic people find it difficult to tolerate brushing their teeth due to sensory sensitivities; in severe cases, this can lead to tooth loss and decay. Without enough teeth, eating hard, chewy, or tough foods can be more difficult.
 
Other associated conditions: for example, Pica; this is where an individual eats or mouths non-edible items (such as clothing, dirt, or stones). Some autistic people might experience Pica due to medical, dietary, sensory, or behavioural needs. 
 
Who can help? 🤷‍♀️ 
 
If you or someone you support is coughing, choking, or struggling to breath when eating and drinking, please speak to your GP as soon as possible. 
They can refer you to:
  • Speech and Language Therapy – for assessment of swallowing, food and drink modifications and mealtime recommendations. 
  • Dietetics – with meeting nutritional needs, managing weight and other health related needs (e.g. constipation and allergies). 
  • Occupational Therapy – with adapted cutlery and the sensory environment.
  • Physiotherapy – with positioning at mealtimes.
  • Clinical Psychology – for behavioural strategies and psychological support (anxiety). 
  • Dentist – for oral care and treatment.
For more information about disordered eating and autism, keep an eye out for our next webinar 💻 
 
All our upcoming events can be found here ➡️ https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/autism-oxford-uk-32230677417

Support to help more disabled people into work

National Autistic Society are working with the Department for Work and Pensions – DWPand jobcentre.lk to implement the autism framework in the hope to improve employment opportunities for autistic people.

https://payadvice.uk/…/support-to-help-more-disabled…/

We are pleased to see this work being completed however we would very much like to know;

  • Were autistic people involved in the development of autism framework?
  • Is there work being undertaken to train and improve the awareness of real benefits and the asset of employing a neurodiverse workforce with employers?

Reasonable Adjustments are very important and a legal requirement, but there are so many other barriers to employment for autistic people, for example stigma and the lack of understanding of what autism actually is.

Autism Oxford UK offers training to employers in the attempt to challenge stigma and myths around autism, but also showcasing the benefits of having a blended team of neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals. We also provide practical support to autistic people to reach their employment aspirations and maintain their employment.

If we can help you, please get in touch with us by using our enquiry form on our website.

#autism #actuallyautistic #employment #ReasonableAdjustments #neurodiversity#neurodivergent