29 March 2021

This is World Autism Awareness Week (29 March - 4 April) and Autism Awareness Day is on Good Friday this year.

The BBC Morning Live show on Friday will feature a documentary that focuses on the experience of some City & Hackney based adults who have been diagnosed with autism later in life.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. 

Service users and staff with the City & Hackney Autism Service have been working alongside the film company to produce the piece. 

Service Lead Leda Veloso describes the work of the service and what she hopes people will gain from the documentary: 

"The City & Hackney Autism Service complete approximately 130 diagnostic assessments a year and those who receive a diagnosis can access our post-diagnostic interventions for 12 months post-diagnosis.

"COVID has been a real challenge in terms of diagnostic assessments for autism. 

"We are doing a portion of our diagnostic assessments virtually but we have found that in most cases we have had to see people face to face. 

"Of course with the use of PPE and doing covid risk assessments.  we also moved all our post-diagnostic interventions (Peer Support Group, Post-diagnostic Workshops, Reasonable Adjustments) onto zoom and this has been a great success and something we hope to continue going forward

"We hope the film will go a little way to breaking those "Rainman" stereotypes of Autism and give a brief glimpse in the lives of two late diagnosed Autistic adults who happened to be diagnosed through our service and the positive impact it has had on their lives.

"In terms of raising awareness about autism, and helping people understand the condition, it's hard to give specific advice as every Autistic person is so different. But my best advice is to be curious and ask them how they would like to be supported."

Visit the National Autistic Society online to find out more about World Autism Awareness Week. 
"The City & Hackney Autism Service is a very valuable resource for the local community" - Navdeep Kandola , Company Director and Film-maker for Tearaway Films, commissioned to create  the BBC Morning Live broadcast on the City & Hackney Autism Service User's Experience, describes the project. Read the interview here >>
A Service User describes their experience of being diagnosed and living with Autism. Read it here>>