News and events

News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

NELFT celebrates Autism Acceptance Week

National Autistic Society logo. Grey and white background. We are supporting World Autism Acceptance Week.

This week, NELFT is celebrating Autism Acceptance Week bringing awareness and helping to create a society that works for autistic people.

It is estimated that around one percent of the adult population are autistic. Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Seen as a developmental condition, characterised by impairments in social interaction, social imagination, and communication.

Dr Saraswathy Saminathan, Clinical Lead of the Adult Autism Service, said:

''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”.

NELFT’s Kent Emotional Wellbeing Teams and Medway Emotional Support Teams have been working hard to raise awareness of the importance of individualised support for Autistic young people. One area of focus is ‘Getting a good night’s sleep’ and the importance of ensuring that sleep hygiene focuses on the specific needs of the autistic young person.

The teams have worked closely with a researcher at University College London and a talented group of autistic young people to create a leaflet and animation about what helps autistic teenagers to get a good night’s sleep.

Most sleep advice is for the general population, so it is helpful to share information which specifically focuses on autistic young people. This project is particularly special because it is brought to life by a song and music video created by some members of the group.

To view the ‘Sleep Project’ leaflet, visit: Sleep Project leaflet

NELFT is also celebrating the week with the launch of a five-episode podcast. The Adult Autism Team are running a podcast ‘Let’s Talk Autism’ to explore expectations while waiting, late age diagnosis, cultural adaptations, working while autistic and comorbidities and misdiagnosis. The podcast will consist of five episodes and will be led by NELFT staff and service users.

Atifa Chowdhury, Trainee Clinical Associate Psychologist at NELFT, who was diagnosed with autism later in life, said:

“My late diagnosis and personal experience as an autistic individual allows me to empathise deeply with our patients, 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.

I cherish my identity as an autistic individual, recognising 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.”

To see what else NELFT are doing to celebrate Autism Acceptance Week, visit: Autism Acceptance Week | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust

To read NELFT’s Autism resources for Children, Young People and Adults, visit: Autism Acceptance Week - Resources | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust

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