Online Introduction to Autism workshop developed by MPFT to support families

The NHS service supporting autistic children and young people in South Staffordshire and their families has developed a new online workshop in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s interim Children and Young People’s Autism Service has worked with a number of families to adapt its face-to-face Introduction to Autism session into an easy-to-use podcast-style audio and video workshop.

The session is available via the service’s web page at www.mpft.nhs.uk/services/children-and-young-people-autism-service under ‘workshops’.

It is suitable for families who have just received a diagnosis or serves as a refresher for those seeking further advice following an earlier diagnosis. The session is approximately one hour in length and offers a variety of information and advice covering key areas, including:

  • Social communication
  • Social interaction
  • Restrictive, repetitive patterns of behaviour
  • Sensory

It also addresses common myths and facts concerning autism and covers other areas, including ‘what is the spectrum’.

The session, which has been voiced by members of the autism team can be listened to on the go or watched with visual prompts if this is the preferred way of receiving information.

A popular aspect of the service’s face-to-face workshops has been the opportunity for parents to talk to other families in a similar position, and to be able to raise questions or concerns with team members.

Keen to ensure this opportunity is not lost in light of the national guidance regarding COVID-19, the service is offering virtual group sessions with up to five families in each group for a chance to talk to other families and team members.

Vicki Lloyd, Clinical Psychologist for the service said: “In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to look at different ways of working to improve access to the service.

“The video is accessible to everyone – whether for families who need information on how to support their children with their new or long-standing diagnosis, for other services to learn about those they care for, or for the wider community to provide the tools for building a better future our children will be able to thrive in.”

To find out more about getting involved in the virtual group sessions, call 0300 303 0691 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email cypautismservice@mpft.nhs.uk and the service will respond as soon as a session becomes available.

Please note that whilst the video resource is available to anyone, the group sessions are exclusive to families in South Staffordshire who have a full or working diagnosis to ensure those in need of immediate support are supported.