Oxford Health’s teams work with children and adults from assessing the condition through to helping people get the support they need.

Our Oxfordshire Neuro-developmental conditions (NDC) team, which is part of the Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), wore rainbow colours on April Thursday 1 in a symbolic gesture to promote awareness of autism. More photos will be shared throughout the month so keep your eyes peeled.

They offer young people diagnostic assessment and, following a diagnosis, they offer the opportunity for parents to join an All Things Autism post diagnostic course. Over the past year this has been adapted to an online course, with 6 video resources supported by 2 Q&A virtual sessions which are held throughout the year.

In some instances, young people may require more specific support which is organised on a case by case basis.

Laura Mackenzie, Specialist Mental Health Nurse and NDC Deputy Team Manager has seen how challenging the pandemic has been for individuals diagnosed with autism.

She said: “World Autism Day, and the whole month or April, is a great opportunity to raise awareness and to help more people understand what Autism is and how they can perhaps be more supportive.

“Autistic young people can find navigating the world difficult at the best of times. But over the past year, in the face of the Covid pandemic and repeated lockdowns, life has been even more challenging for some.

“The usual routines that offer security and reassurance have been ever changing, often with little or no notice. There might have been more worries about illness for themselves and others.

“Prolonged periods of being stuck at home without the usual support and activities has contributed to some of these young people and their families becoming more isolated, more overwhelmed with significant anxiety and finding it more difficult to cope with life.”

You can find out more about World Autism week and month here.

There’s also information on the NDC CAMHS Oxford Health site on supporting young people with Autism here.