Public Comments for 12/06/2021 Autism Advisory Council
Last Name: Flinn Organization: Aspergers and Neurodiversity Support and Information of Richmond (ANSIR) Locality: North Chesterfield

Comments Document

Hello, There is an URGENT need for providers who are trained in how to work with/treat ASD children and adults who have co-existing mental health and neurological/ psychiatric disorders and conditions. Evidence based studies have shown the suicide rate for individuals on the autism spectrum is significantly higher than the non ASD population for both children and adults, and higher still for female/identify as female ASD individuals. The list of co-existing mental health disorders includes: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bi-polar Disorder, Attention Deficit, psychosis, Tourette's Syndrome, mood disorders, and gender dysphoria. The list of disorders that falls under the Anxiety umbrella is even longer: general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, camouflaging/masking, sleep disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and negative perseverative thinking/rumination. Communication is a primary characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and many ASD individuals have difficulty finding the words to convey the level of distress they are experiencing until it's too late. I have included the attachment, 'Warning Signs of Suicide for Autistic People: An autism-specific resource based on research findings and expert consensus' and the link to 'A 20-year study of suicide death in a statewide autism population' I hope you will make this a priority study for the commission. These services and supports are vital to help this wonderful amazing population better navigate an already stressful and difficult world. Thank you. Sincerely, Kate Flinn

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