Artwork by Jon Adams
More Than Words report
In the United Kingdom, autistic people represent at least 1.1% of the population. Autistic people have the same health care needs as anyone, and are additionally more vulnerable to a large number of co-occurring physical and mental health conditions than the general population, requiring input from all parts of NHS healthcare services. Despite this, many autistic people experience barriers to accessing services that mean they struggle to get their health needs met. In one recent study, one third of autistic people reported being unable to access any form of healthcare for potentially life-threatening conditions. Communication difficulties with healthcare staff are frequently reported as one of the most challenging barriers.
Over several months our autistic CRSJ and Boingboing colleague, Dr Gemma Williams, worked with a stakeholder group to co-produce some guidelines for communicating well with autistic people in healthcare settings. The group included autistic healthcare service users, autistic healthcare professionals and non-autistic healthcare professionals and the report was launched on 6th October 2022 at an online NHS South East Best Practice Conference. So far the report has received an internal Excellence Report within the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and is due to be shared on the NHS Futures Platform, and with Medical Schools around the UK.
Read the More Than Words report here. Please feel free to download and share.