Text reads: 'We are supporting World Autism Acceptance Week.' National Autistic Week branding. 2-8 April 2024

Autism Acceptance Week 2024

World #AutismAcceptanceWeek is back this year to celebrate Autism, bringing awareness to the approximately 700,000 autistic people living in the UK. It aims to fundraise, educate and help create a society that works for autistic people.

  • Only 29% of autistic people are in any form of employment.
  • Only 26% of autistic pupils feel happy at school.
  • 70% of autistic people have mental health problems.

We support the National Autistic Society who are working to ensure all autistic people feel accepted.

''As the Clinical Lead, embracing autism involves establishing an inclusive and compassionate environment that goes beyond mere acknowledgement... This entails fostering a culture of kindness and understanding, where empathy plays a pivotal role.''

Dr Saraswathy Saminathan, Clinical Lead

Message from Atifa Chowdhury, Trainee Clinical Associate Psychologist - Adult Autism Service

“Hello, I'm Atifa, and I am autistic. My late diagnosis and personal experience as an autistic individual allows me to empathise deeply with our clients, enriches my work by sharing valuable lived experience. I am open about my autism diagnosis, encouraging curiosity and welcoming all questions to foster positive understanding.

As an autistic trainee Clinical Associate Psychologist in an Adult Autism Service, I contribute lived-experience insights to autism assessments, training, post-diagnostic interventions and research highlighting the need for helpful initiatives. My role allows me to help shape clinical decisions and interventions to better meet the diverse needs of the autistic community.

I cherish my identity as an autistic individual, recognizing it as both a strength and a challenge. Working as a clinician with autistic people is a privilege, and I am dedicated to ensuring our voices are heard, educating others, and contributing to creating a more accommodating world for all of us.”

Message from Fahima Khanom, Head of Service - Adult Autism Service

“Hello, I’m Fahima, I am incredibly honoured to be working in the adult autism service. The last few years has given me an incredible insight into autism and steep learning curve, both personally and professionally.

Now I know that for all diagnosed with autism, their conditions may vary, with their own unique experience and journey, with challenges and moments of huge joy.

I am excited about supporting our patients and staff through this journey and being part of the changes taking place to shape the future of the autism service.”

Contributions from NELFT Colleagues and Service Users

Podcast: Let's Talk Autism

Autism and me — A poem by service user, Hazel

Before the diagnosis I didn’t know where to turn,
After years of trying you’d think it’s something I would learn,
Felt so alone and scared of what will happen next,
But people didn’t understand, my life is so complex.
The night before the assessment my heart was racing,
My head was pounding, and my feet were pacing,
I was overwhelmed and confused,
Maybe now I can win instead of thinking I’d lose.
I’m afraid it takes me time to learn how to trust
I need time to learn, to grow and adjust,
I hope to find out why it’s so hard for me
I struggle to focus and struggle to see.
Then it was time for me to be assessed,
Was so nervous that it would be another test,
But I was allowed to show the real me,
I dropped the mask and allowed them to see.
But now with my diagnosis I no longer have to lie,
I can learn to re-focus and know all I can do is try,
I’ve longed to be normal like others around me,
But now the real me I can finally be.
Back then I felt hurt, broken and lost
Would’ve loved to feel different no matter the cost
Felt completely abandoned and so alone,
If only back then I would have known.
Now I can finally learn to start over again,
Let go of the pressure and release the pain,
I now need to accept the way that I am,
Move forward and follow my positive plan.

Instrumental Music Piece produced by Danny 

This music piece has been created by Dan, a service user who enjoys using different pieces of technology software to produce music. 

Dan created this piece of music inspired by Autism Awareness Week.

Dan says this piece is unfinished and still has some work to go but we think it is amazing!