Autism Project

Teamwork Trust is delivering a 9-month project, in partnership with MHNC supporting both service users and external individuals that have a diagnosis of Autism. The project aims to support participants to increase their wellbeing and have awareness of coping strategies and community services, that can offer further support. The project also aims to reduce loneliness, through facilitation of group activities and enabling social participation; allowing individuals to develop their social skills and make new connections in a safe and friendly environment. 

Teamwork Trust has devised 3 sessions that will run across the centres over the following months, and also welcome individuals external to the charity; therefore, offering an equal and inclusive experience to autistic adults across the county!

1. Introduction to Autism: A Sensory World

A course that offers an introduction and an exploration into our senses. The course will allow individuals to engage in group-based activity and completion of a sensory workbook that will enable them to gain a greater understanding of their sensory needs. The sessions will also facilitate discussion of coping strategies and offer support and advice on management of emotions, through our sensory input.

2. Walking for Wellbeing

A ‘walk and talk’ group, that encourages the development of social interactions and forging new friendships. Participants will engage in weekly nature-based activities, experiencing the calmness, joy, and creativity of our natural environment. The sessions will also support participants to increase their exercise habits and experience positive changes to their mental wellbeing; supporting to improve confidence and self-esteem and reduce levels of anxiety.

3. Parents & Carers Peer Support Group

Teamwork Trust recognises the importance of supporting parents and carers, supporting individuals with neurodiverse diagnosis. A peer support group will be facilitated to allow participants to meet others with shared experiences and enhance social connections within the local community. The sessions will also offer signposting to local services, identifying ways to further increase your mental wellbeing, as well as engagement in group activities.

The Autism Project has been created by Samantha Farrow, Teamwork's Autism Lead and supported by BethTooms, Student for the first 12 weeks - see below

My name is Beth, and I am a final year Occupational Therapy Student from University of Northampton. During my three years of training, I have completed an apprenticeship within an acute hospital setting, where I have clinical knowledge and experience working in Trauma and Elective Orthopaedics, Urgent Care and Hand Therapy. My daily role has a focus on equipment provision, adaptations, and rehabilitation to support individuals with illness, injury, and impairments to successfully engage in their meaningful occupations.

Throughout my training, I have completed several placements within a variety of settings including inpatient mental health and a community therapy team. My final placement has been 12 weeks working at Teamwork Trust to support the Autism Project. During my time at Teamwork Trust, I have been able to gain a greater understanding of the sensory needs of service users, and how this can support and hinder their participation in their daily occupations. I have also been able to introduce the service to Models of Occupational Therapy and how assessment of service users can further support how sessions are managed and structured, to meet the needs of the individuals.

I am very grateful to Teamwork Trust for having me as part of the team over the last 12 weeks and allowing me to learn more about working with individuals with neurodiverse diagnosis. I may be a little impartial…. but I think that Occupational Therapists have an invaluable role within this setting to further support service user’s engagement and participation in their meaningful occupations, as well as enabling positive health and wellbeing. I am hopeful that Teamwork Trust will continue to engage with Occupational Therapy students, to further enhance service user experience and remain relevant in their practice.  May 2024