Autism Central is a new peer education programme, commissioned by NHS England. It aims to build knowledge and understanding of autism and empower families and carers to advocate for autistic people they support to get the right understanding and adjustments in place across the services they use. It’s launching now but will keep developing in the future with more content being added.
“Autism Central is helping families to learn more about autism and the support available to them. There is a wide range of curated and new material along with signposting to learning resources. This wrap-around learning benefits from the experiences of autistic people and their families – and prepares other families and carers to advocate to get the best from the services they encounter.” Lisa Myers, Programme Director, Autism Central.
Everything the programme does is informed by or co-produced with autistic people, parents and carers.
“I want to make a positive difference to autistic people and their families by sharing my experience and helping parents and carers understand more about autism.” Salaha Khaleque, Parent Carer Panel Member.
Autism Central works in partnership, bringing together nine partners who developed the programme: Ambitious about Autism, Autism Alliance, Autism Education Trust, Autistica, British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD), Contact, Great Minds Together, National Autistic Society and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.
Autism Central hubs deliver the programme in seven regions of England through group and one-to-one sessions, giving information on local services. Each session is delivered by parents and carers of autistic people who are happy to share their knowledge and experience with others.
“Working in partnership is vital for Autism Central, so we can draw on a wide range of experience and keep developing a service that makes a difference for parents and carers.” Adam Micklethwaite, Chair of Autism Central Governance Steering Group, Autism Alliance.
Learning from experience
Sometimes, talking to people who share similar experiences means you are more likely to feel understood and get the help you need. That’s why Autism Central works with parents and autistic people to become peer educators who facilitate education and share knowledge with other families. They are here to listen, offer guidance, and tell you about services that are available in a local area.
‘Finding a place where people understand you and can provide help at the same time can be lifechanging. The Autism Central Peer Education Programme enables us to share our knowledge whilst connecting with our peers it is a wonderful opportunity’ Jade Page, Hub Lead South West England
How can I access Autism Central?
The programme is free to access. Information, guidance and events are all available on the Autism Central website www.autismcentral.org.uk which includes:
- Explore topics: find key information from partners and other trusted sources on topics such as diagnosis, employment and mental health.
- Find help: search for a regional hub to find group and one-to-one sessions with information and services available in your area.
- Events: talk to people who share similar experiences by joining a workshop, drop-in session, coffee morning or virtual meet-up.
- Online learning: sign up to access further learning resources and personal stories from other parents and carers.