The Care Group recognises the importance of awareness days such as World Autism Week (27 March - 2 April 2023), which throws a much-needed spotlight on supporting the estimated 700,000 autistic people in the UK and their families.
Within the Care Group our 0-19 children and family teams work with local children and families who are under the autism spectrum.
Care Group Heath Visitor Keisha Charles explains: “Our Health Visiting service is offered to all families with children aged 0-5, which means that we can often help to identify children who may be on the autistic spectrum by completing developmental and health reviews.
“We use our expertise, skills and multi-professional working in early intervention so these children can be referred and placed on the ASDAS (Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Service) pathway.”
The team offers accessible ways to support these families. Keshia added: “We support families by providing a targeting offering which includes a mixture of home visits and clinic appointments.”
The school setting is often another important place to identify and support autistic children. Care Group School Nurse Linda Brown explains: “Our School Nurses provide a holistic approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of these children and families."
“We work with partner agencies in Education, Health and Social Care with early interventions. We also collaborate with families to identify unmet needs and to coordinate healthcare by providing guidance, education, support and resources, thereby ensuring health equity with best outcomes for an independent healthy future.”
Signs of autism in children
The NHS gives a useful definition of how people with autism may act. This includes finding it hard to communicate and engage with other people. Those under the autism spectrum may struggle to understand how other people think or feel. Bright lights or loud noises can also be overwhelming or stressful for autistic people. Additionally, being in new situations can cause anxiety for those with autism and it may take longer for them to process information. Finally, those with autism may do the same things repeatedly.
In their own words: Lived experience with autism
Our Health Visiting team asked autistic people they work with to describe how they feel:
One service user wanted people to understand the different ways autistic people communicate:“I might not always use words, but I can communicate.”
Another service user wanted people to know how exceptional they are: “I am special and don't need to be like everyone.’’
Finally, they don’t want people to feel sorry for them: “I don't need your pity; I just need your acceptance.’’
Watch the video below from the National Autistic Society to hear autistic people talk about what autism acceptance means to them.
Watch the video