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World Autism Month

11th April 2024

As part of World Autism Month, we wanted to highlight our Autism Care Navigation Service, currently delivered in the London borough of Brent. At The Advocacy Project, we help people speak up and make decisions about their health, wellbeing, and social care. As part of this, we work with neurodivergent individuals and other organisations to identify health inequalities and reduce people’s barriers to healthcare.

There are currently over 150,000 people on the waiting list for an autism assessment in the UK. Our Autism Care Navigation service provides information about local health and social care services and supports those who have received a diagnosis of autism or are on the waiting list for an autism assessment.

Our work in Brent supports the NHS Long Term plan to provide focused support for autistic people and their families. Our service improves the quality of autism diagnostic pathways for both pre and post diagnostic support by:

  • Running Focus Groups so that service users can speak up and be heard when it comes to their lived experiences, providing a platform for them to directly influence their local health and social care services;
  • Providing Autism Awareness Training and Workshops to primary care providers and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Improving relationships and communications with key stakeholders, strengthening referral pathways and improving diagnostic support.

According to a recent report by Nuffield Trust, the number of patients waiting for an autism assessment in England was at its highest level since current data started in 2019, and there is consequently a huge demand for autism services. It’s vital for equitable healthcare that processes and ways of working within the health and social care sector are considered from the perspective of people from this community. The Advocacy Project helps organisations ensure they are using appropriate language and communications in their outreach as well as facilitate people to be involved in designing, setting up, monitoring and reviewing services.

With many local areas reporting a 50% increase in autism referrals over the last year, the need has never been greater. If you are living or working in Brent and think you could benefit from our services or would like to find out more about partnering with us in this work, then please contact our Autism Care Navigator: Natasha Vidal: