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Shining the spotlight on autism during awareness week
27/03/2017

​Shoppers in Ipswich will be given the chance to find out more about autism and the expert help and support which Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) offers to patients, during a special event taking place on Wednesday (29th March).

Clinicians from the Autism Diagnostic Service for Suffolk (ADSS), based at Haymills House in Stowmarket, will spend the day at Tesco, Martlesham Heath, where they will answer any questions people may have about autism spectrum condition (ASC), explain how it can affect people and give out information about the care which is available. Suffolk Family Carer’s are also taking part in the event as well as service users from the ADSS.

The event has been organised to tie in with World Autism Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday 1st April and aims to raise awareness of the condition, which affects more than 700,000 people across the UK.

Marcina King, Clinical Team Leader with the service, said: “Having an autism spectrum condition can have a big impact on people’s life. They may face challenges understanding others around them, and being understood; causing them difficulty with communicating, in some relationships and social situations.

“However, it also has some positive aspects, many of which people are not aware of. People with ASC are often very hard working and honest; they can be very capable with high levels of ability and concentration skills. For some, their ability to focus on a topic means they are excellent researchers and can notice crucial details other people can miss. They are very attractive to employers in the fields of engineering and IT where great attention to detail and high levels of knowledge are needed. They can also do well in publishing and creative industries where their focussed elaborate imaginations and alternative viewpoints are valued. There are also lots of famous people with ASC, such as Bill Gates, Gary Newman, Paddy Considine, Susan Boyle, Guy Martin, Darryl Hannah and US beauty queen Rachel Barcellona

“We hope that as many people as possible take a few minutes out of their day to come and chat to us on Wednesday so that we can raise awareness of this condition while also helping people to better understand what they could do to help someone with autism.”

The Autism Diagnostic Service for Suffolk was launched in autumn 2013, and carries out around 160 adult assessments and 180 youth assessments each year.

If ASC is diagnosed, the multi-disciplinary team will provide some short-term support, such as one-to-one or group sessions, while also signposting people to other sources of help.

Anyone who thinks they could benefit from a referral to the service should speak to their GP.