We hear from members of Calderdale’s Autism Hub

June 5, 2019

Healthwatch Calderdale heard some inspiring ideas from members of Calderdale’s Autism Hub.

The support group – for people with autism or who believe they may have autism – asked Healthwatch Calderdale staff questions and the 14 members and two support workers talked about their own experiences of health and social care services, including ideas for improvement.

Among the questions they asked us were:

  • Are there any support services for people with autism apart from here (the Hub)?
  • Why will the mental health team not work with people with autism who have mental health issues?

Here’s some of the things they told us:

  • Can GP practices have a flag that alerts a receptionist that the caller has autism? They said it would mean reasonable adjustments were put in place. One idea is for a symbol similar to the Dementia-friendly symbol that is frequently used.
  • They’d like to give their views on how autistic-friendly health facilities are.
  • They’d like to explore Communication Passports that alert a medical professional to their autism with information specific to them such as not liking being touched.
  • They asked if workplaces could have an autistic-friendly member of staff, in the same way they have a trained first aider?
  • One member told us he’d been discharged from services medical staff deemed him unsuitable for, but not referred to a more suitable service. He said he often felt like he was starting at square one.
  • They told us they find the type size of leaflets in medicine boxes too small for many to read.
  • One member had found himself among friends when he attended Andy’s Man Club – he said everyone had been so accepting and that he felt it gave him a fighting chance of staying positive.

Healthwatch Calderdale is exploring some of the issues raised and will respond back and will continue to work with the Autism Hub to make positive change for them and others.

The support group meets at the The Kings Church, 3, Park Road, Halifax, HX1 2TS every Wednesday from 12.30-4.45pm and every other Tuesday at Todmorden Community Resource Centre, Lever Street, Todmorden, OL14 5QF. Click here for more details.

Support workers are willing to meet any person who wants to attend at the door and assist them.  Contact David Riley or Janice Weale on 01274 789789 or email david.riley@specialistautismservices.org / janiceweale@specialistautismservices.org

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