As a Trust, we aim to become more autism aware, informed and responsive to needs of people with autism through better access and clearer pathways to services.

Autism is a relatively common condition, affecting 1 in 100 people; it persists across the lifespan, meaning that adults and older people are affected as well as children.

Many adults with autism have never received a diagnosis, and some have even been misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions. The Trust provides autism diagnostic services in some localities.

People with autism are more at risk from a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and psychosis, so it is important that Trust staff are able to identify autism and also work effectively with service users with autism.

We are currently developing our autism strategy to ensure that there is a clear pathway to diagnosis in all our localities, that all our staff (clinical and non-clinical) are trained in autism awareness, and that our treatment pathways have autism-specific enhancements.

Our ambition is to be the most autism-friendly NHS organisation in the North of England.

By January 2018, we aim to have key pieces of work in place to support people with autism – service users, staff or visitors.The work on developing our autism strategy is being led by autism strategy manager Jacqui Dyson and clinical lead of autism Conor Davidson.

Making progress

 

November 2017: recording of autism awareness videos for Trust staff equality and diversity mandatory training complete with experts by experience and carers.

October 2017 : members of the team, expert by experience and carer presented at the RPsych conference in Newcastle talking to general adult psychiatrists about working with autistic people accessing mainstream mental health services.
Autism Awareness training provided to all newly qualified nurses as part of their induction to the Trust.
Members of the team and a carer presented to the ‘The Bigger Voice’ conference in Aycliffe about the project aims.

September 2017: developments included the appointment of Anne Cahill to the post of consultant professional lead with the autism strategy team.

We delivered further training to: York community mental health team and liaison team across Durham and Darlington with expert by experience, carer and clinician – training was very positively received. Members of the project team attended the launch of the York All Age Autism Strategy and we will be involved in the on-going development and implementation of the strategy. 

August 2017: with the input of autistic people, carers and Trust staff, we have developed autism awareness training for our staff which we will deliver in 2017 / 2018. We have had a trial run of the training at sessions in York and Darlington, delivered by an expert by experience, her mother and Conor Davidson, our autism clinical lead - the feedback was positive

August 2017: we provided an update on our work to the Trust senior medical staff committee

August 2017: carers and staff worked together on the filming of some short videos for our autism strategy work. We plan to use the shirt videos in future training sessions

August 2017: we gave an update on our progress the Middlesbrough Carers Together's event. People there agreed they would share their thoughts on our Trust draft vision for autism

July 2017: we have spent time visiting Trust teams to share news of our work and get their input

July 2017: we went to the Trust AGM where we shared news of what are doing. Trust governor and carer Hazel Griffiths joined us and we got lots of feedback from people about our work so far and plans

July 2017: our Trust draft vision for autism has been developed by service users, carers, staff and key people from other organisations.

July 2017: we gave an update on our work and plans at the Harrogate National Autistic Society conference and we hope to return in the future to share updates 

June 2017: Conor Davidson, Trust autism clinical lead and Jacqui Dyson, Trust autism strategy manager, are keen to hear from Trust colleagues who would like to be part of a Trust-wide autism strategy professionals’ network. If you are interested please email Jacqui.dyson@nhs.net or call Jacqui Dyson on 07867 807208.

May 2017: thank you to all Trust staff who took part in the staff autism awareness survey. Your responses are being used to help us develop the Trust’s autism strategy and staff autism training. We plan to repeat the survey later in the year to see what progress is being made to help our Trust become more autism aware

May 2017: with staff feedback form our autism awareness survey we now have a better idea on the level of autism awareness across our Trust and are working with experts by experience and clinical colleagues to develop suitable autism awareness training for our staff to help us become more autism aware.

We're developing autism awareness training for Trust staff and would like your help. If you are happy to get involved, please contact us. You might have ideas on what our training should include, on what our staff need to know and on who what level of training different groups of staff need. If you are a service user with autism, a carer or family member of a service user with autism or Trust staff and would like to get involved in helping us create better autism awareness training for our staff then please email jacqui.dyson@nhs.net

March 2017: the Trust executive team has looked over our plans and are happy for us to carry on with what we are doing to develop our autism strategy.

Video update (March 2017) hear from our autism strategy sponsor Brent Kilmurrary on what we are doing to develop our autism strategy, how we are helping our staff to become more autism aware and how we are making sure what we do as a trust supports service users and staff with autism, and their families and carers.

March 2017: World autism awareness week 2017, Monday 27 March - Sunday 2 April

March 2017: we held autism strategy update drop-in session in Middlesbrough and York for staff to come along and find out more out our work

Get involved

To make sure our autism strategy works for everyone, we need your help - let us know what we should be doing and how - contact Jacqui.dyson@nhs.net