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It's a sad fact that many children go through school and even life as adults without knowing they are somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

For more years than I care to remember I together with lot's of like minded people have been campaigning and working towards better understanding and support for it's various forms and supporting those struggling with undiagnosed conditions.

It's important to note that autism and other allied "invisible" conditions  are not curable because autism is not an illness.

So what needs to be done is to provide support and understanding to the various hurdles that may crop up making the child/young adult self aware and confident.

This is what The Halfling Project aims to do.

More often than not it's a damage limitation exercise when things start to go wrong.

Don't ever under estimate autism - it can be a great positive condition offering unique creative talents for example to the individual. This is why the creative world [eg performers] have such a high number of autistic talent in their ranks.

But autism can also be a powerful negative force if mismanaged undiagnosed or self denied.

That's why there is such a high proportion of young offenders on the spectrum.

For full diagnosis the child/young adult should first go to his/her GP - who is theory will then refer to a specialised   group. It's a long process and often hurdles are put in the way by non acceptance of aspects of suspected autism.

Rudimentary testing in schools is somewhat poor at diagnosis - which is why so many cases are missed.

People like me go back further than much of the recognition of these conditions and our experience is based on a practical knowledge of what we have learned on the way.

A preliminary assessment will soon indicate if there are matters to deal with and how urgently those matters need attention. The job then is to either help with understanding the conditions and the problems it cause or to convince others eg. schools that urgent SEN attention is required.

This is not a replacement for a full NHS diagnosis   - but the wait for such tests can cost time which simply cannot be spared. The advice is to book a test if your GP agrees but if the matter is urgent take steps to deal with the immediate issues.

Should more serious mental health issues be suspected then an immediate GP referral is advised. 

Much of my work is with young actors and performers - should they be on the spectrum we aim for solutions to problems arising.

The first step is to discuss the situation as we find it and build up a plan of action .

This will be highly personal to the person involved and to detailed to relate here.

The best advice to anyone who suspects autism or other allied conditions are present is to talk it through and take it from there.