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(UK) ASD support group to "build knowledge and understanding" across England

Oct 7, 2023, The Post: New autism support launched for families and carers

SUPPORT is available for families and carers of autistic children and adults thanks to a new, free education programme being launched across England.

Autism Central aims to build knowledge and understanding of autism and empower families and carers to advocate for autistic people they support to get the right understanding and adjustments in place across the services they use.

Commissioned by NHS England and informed by or co-produced with autistic people, parents and carers, the programme offers one-to-one and group sessions complemented by high-quality online learning and information.

Families and carers can also talk to people with similar experiences by joining workshops, drop-in sessions, coffee mornings or virtual meet-ups.

Each session is delivered by parents and carers of autistic people who have been trained to share their knowledge and experience with others, as peer educators.   ….

Autism Central is the latest example of the NHS’s commitment to improving health outcomes for autistic people - including improving assessments and rolling out the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism for NHS staff, and enhanced autism training for psychiatrists.

The NHS is focused on investing in community services so people can receive support close to home, with the number of people with a learning disability or autistic people in mental health hospitals falling by around a third since 2015, despite the number of people diagnosed with autism increasing significantly.

Tom Cahill, National Director for Learning Disability and Autism at NHS England, said: “We welcome the launch of Autism Central. Further sharing the experiences of autistic people, families and carers with their peers, will help to benefit and improve the quality of care and support.”

Lisa Myers, Programme Director of Autism Central, said: “Autism Central is helping families to learn more about autism and the support available to them. There is a wide range of curated and new material along with signposting to learning resources. This wrap-around learning benefits from the experiences of autistic people and their families - and prepares other families and carers to advocate to get the best from the services they encounter.”  

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