NHS trusts support World Autism Acceptance Week
A little boy laughing with a tutor of some sort.

World Autism Acceptance Week has begun, and a variety of NHS trusts are showing their support.

Running from the 2 - 8 April, the awareness week aims to fundraise, educate and help create a society that works for autistic people.

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) is one of the trusts across the UK supporting the cause. 

On 4 April, the NELFT Adult Autism Service will deliver a live drop-in session to the public.

This session aims to be an introduction to autism, and to give practical advice and strategies when working with autistic adults, in order to promote autism acceptance. They will also be running an autism quiz on 8 April.

Additionally, the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is championing inclusive healthcare across the borough for individuals with autism. 

Key initiatives include the implementation of a comprehensive flagging system within the hospital, ensuring that individuals with autism are identified from the moment they enter care. This allows for tailored support and accommodations throughout their healthcare journey.

Joanne Beahan, medical director at the Trust, said: "We are committed to providing exceptional care to all individuals, including those with autism,"

She added: “Our initiatives are driven by a deep understanding of the unique needs of individuals with autism and learning from people with experience, to making healthcare experiences more accessible and comfortable for them.”  

The Trust has also introduced sensory equipment and therapy tools in emergency departments to provide additional support for individuals with autism during stressful situations.

As well as this, the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust is introducing new resources of autistic people to mark the awareness week.

Autism awareness cards are being rolled out, which provide autistic people with a different way to alert stage of their diagnosis so adjustments can be made for them. 

Departments display a poster asking patients if they are autistic, and beside the poster are cards that can be then passed to staff by patients if they wish to let them know that they are autistic.

On the back of the cards are a series of suggestions for staff about what adjustments they can make to improve the support for that patient.

In addition to the cards, a series of guides have also been produced for staff on how to support autistic people.

The National Autistic Society has estimated that there are 700,000 autistic people living in the UK.