Supporting Autism Acceptance Week 2022
For some years, April has been recognised as Autism Awareness Week, albeit the name and emphasis have changed as a number of organisations, including NHS England and the National Autistic Society, join forces to celebrate Autism Acceptance. Last week (Monday 28 March to Sunday 3 April) marked Autism Acceptance Week which aims to help create a society that is inclusive of autistic people, promote acceptance of autism and help improve the lives of autistic people. At CLCH we want to ensure our workforce have a good understanding of the broader needs of autistic staff, staff with learning disabilities and other forms of neurodivergence as well as implement reasonable adjustments needed. Our aim is to help autistic people to be accepted, understood and treated fairly working in the Trust.
Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that people with autism share certain characteristics but are also very individual in their areas of strength (which can be substantial), areas they struggle with, personalities, areas of interest, and needs. It is estimated that around 700,000 adults (1 in 100) in the UK have a diagnosis of autism, however a recent study indicated that one in 54 children may be autistic and many adults are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Some autistic people are able to live relatively independent lives, but others may face additional challenges, which means their support needs are different. It has recently been proposed that autistic ‘social impairments’ result from a communication mismatch between autistic and non-autistic populations. Notably, at least one study has found there to be no communication deficit when autistic people communicate with each other.
At CLCH, we know that people with autism, learning disabilities and other forms of neurodiversity face health inequalities and to address this, we must maintain a resilient and compassionate workforce in order to provide high-quality, person-centred care and support to both our employees and patients. The recognition of Autism Acceptance Month lines up with the Workforce Equality (campaign 2) of the Equality Strategy. The objective states that the Trust will strengthen actions to eliminate disparities, promote representation and voice of staff at all levels. The National Autistic Society’s website provides information about how COVID-19 has affected autistic people. This includes information around the latest guidance, updates and resources on coronavirus for autistic people, their families and professionals.