Awareness of Other People’s Needs
Last week, 4th to 8th April, was World Autism Awareness Week in the UK.  Next week, from 18th to 24th April, is Parkinson’s Awareness Week.  25th April to 1st May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. 
With social media continuing to grow in importance, more and more of us are becoming aware of things that we may have known little or nothing about previously. With traditional radio, television and print advertising being very strongly challenged by online advertising, there seems to be no reason not to be aware, thanks to sites like http://www.awarenessdays.co.uk/ 
As the image  above states, the definition of awareness spans a wide spectrum and can cover the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact all the way through to concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.
There are many different needs that individual’s have, here is a spotlight on just three of those.
Family Life with Autism
Courtesy of Sparkle Sheffield
Extreme Juggler, mother of three, spoke to me about the reality of family life as a full-time teacher, wife and Autism Mum. Her youngest son was diagnosed with “classic autism” in April 2012. He is currently described as “non-verbal”. In August of the same year, her eldest was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of the autistic spectrum condition, and in October 2013, it was suggested that her middle son could also be “somewhere on the spectrum.” Aren’t we all?
Classing herself as perpetual worrier and a frequent warrior – as so often parents of children waiting to be diagnosed or waiting for referral for services are – Extreme Juggler says,
“Managing a career would be a total nightmare if it wasn’t for my husband and my parents.”
“I have no promotion prospects anymore and struggle to keep on top of work. My peers are all deputy heads and headteachers these days. That will never happen for me now and I have to force myself to remember that quality of life is more important than ambition and money. I still have to pay a mortgage but would give work up tomorrow if I could.”
“I resent not having enough time for my boys when other people’s kids get the best of me.”
Extreme Juggler continues, “The main thing about autism is that each person on the spectrum is different from the next, so even in my household I have the academic, the struggling dyslexic and the frustrated non-verbal child. After diagnosis help is often disjointed and needs a bolshy keyboard warrior to fight for access to services! My husband and I go to a parent support group together once a month. That is our social life. We have met loads of parents just like us. If we want to go out, we go out separately. I see a school friend once every 6-12 weeks for dinner and drink. Lots of it!”
Spotlight on Parkinson’s
Courtesty of the Michael J. Fox Foundation
One person in every 500 has Parkinson’s. That’s about 127,000 people in the UK. Symptoms and how quickly they progress are different for everyone. Drugs and treatments are available to manage many of the symptoms. 
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition.People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. 
There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we don’t yet know why people get the condition.
Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things. The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear.
The symptoms most often associated with Parkinson’s are related to motor movements. There are also other symptoms such as pain and depression, which are non-motor symptoms. Main symptoms are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. Other physical symptoms include falls and dizziness, eye problems, bladder and bowel problems. There are also mental health symptoms such as anxiety, dementia and memory problems. 
The actor, Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992, when he was just 29 years old.  He created the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help advance every promising research path to curing Parkinson’s disease, including embryonic stem cell studies. 
Living and Working with MS
Courtesy of Almirall and LifeandMS.com
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK, about one in every 600. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too. Roughly three times as many women have MS as men.  It is the most common condition of the central nervous system affecting young adults.
MS is a lifelong condition. It is not fatal and most people with MS live about as long as everyone else. It is not infectious or contagious so it can’t be passed on to other people like chicken pox or athlete’s foot.
MS is complex, and has many symptoms. Most people won’t experience them all, certainly not at the same time. Symptoms might include fatigue, vision problems and difficulties with walking, but MS is different for everyone. 
An individual with MS is under no legal obligation to tell their employer about their MS, unless:
- they work in the armed forces
- their MS may affect health and safety in the workplace
- they drive for a job 
An employer, when told about their employee having MS, should ask if they consider themselves to have a disability under the Equality Act and Disability Discrimination Act. Regardless of whether an individual considers themselves disabled, they should answer yes.
If an individual with MS needs support at work, the employer can provide time off for appointments or make reasonable adjustments, such as:
- more breaks
- somewhere to rest for short periods during the working day
- a chair or stool to sit on
- flexible or reduced working hours
- working from home 
Talking to the employer means that support can be provided as necessary.
Transcription and Awareness of Individual’s Needs
You may be an employer with an employee who has Parkinson’s or MS. You may be a parent with a school-age children on the autistic spectrum and a career to juggle. You may be a student, a writer, a business person, or an entrepreneur with individual needs, who might benefit with the support of a transcription service provider.
Contact Fingertips Typing Services for information on how we can help, from typing up notes to transcribing dictation or audio recordings.
Written by: Debbie Rowe, Typist for Fingertips Typing