We are delighted to announce that Dr. Clare Lawrence, in conjunction with Linette Wallace from BGU’s KTP Office, has secured an NHS grant bid of £8,893.45 from Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust.

Dr. Lawrence will be developing and implementing a current, evidence-based short course designed to meet the immediate needs of the parents and carers of newly-diagnosed autistic children.

The course will foreground the voice and lived experience of autistic people and will be delivered online over a seven week period by a team from BGU. Clare will then share the course with other facilitators (themselves autistic, be parents of autistic children, or both) to cascade the course delivery further providing paid employment opportunities for neurodiverse/carers of neurodiverse people also.

Course content will be informed by feedback from a project undertaken by Clare prior to this funding, capturing suggestions from other parents of autistic children. This approach will enable voices of more experienced parents of autistic children to shape the course.

Conservative estimates suggest that approximately 1.1% of the UK are autistic, with an estimated 7,500 autistic people living in Lincolnshire. True prevalence of autism is suggested to be much higher - 143,000 patients had an open referral for autism in the UK in June 2023.

According to Dr Clare Lawrence, when their child is diagnosed, parents want and need follow-up support, and providing timely psycho-education input that protects and supports parents in their understanding of autism, can have a positive impact on long-term outcomes.

This course will be current, evidence-based, to foreground the voice and lived experience of autistic people and to employ a course design that leads to sustainability and maximum reach. This course design will have the potential to be further adapted to meet the needs of other cohorts, including newly diagnosed adults, and those who are awaiting autism assessment.

Clare said "I am delighted to be able to create and facilitate this course. I know how important it is for parents new to experiencing autism diagnosis in their child to meet others in the same situation, to share worries and concerns and also to be able to understand the positive aspects.

"I am looking forward to developing this course with members of the community."

Dr Clare Lawrence is an experienced autism advocate with over 20 years’ experience. She is an insider member of the autism community as the parent of an autistic child. Clare is an active member of BGU's BRIDgE team, the wider participatory autism research community and is also a Lincolnshire County Council Autism Champion aiming to increase autism understanding across the sector.

21st March 2024

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