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New Programme Launch for Teenagers

9th January 2020

Autism West Midlands launches new programme for teenagers.

The teenage years can be a difficult time for all young people as they face puberty, managing friendships and the transition into adulthood. For autistic teenagers these years are particularly challenging as difficulties with change and transition is a core characteristic of autism, alongside difficulties navigating the social world, coping with sensory differences and managing rigid thought processes. Without extra support through these challenges autistic teenagers are at risk of developing mental health conditions.

This new Autism West Midlands programme is one of 23 projects across England funded by the Health and Wellbeing Fund, to expand and evaluate already successful, innovative projects to help to improve the mental health of children and young people.  The programme builds on the success of an adult programme delivered for a number of years in the city.

Autism West Midlands programme called “Teens Autism Confident” comprises of six weekly group sessions in a relaxed autism-friendly environment, with a one to one session with an autism specialist at the beginning and end of the six weeks. The programme will help young people to develop coping mechanisms and support networks; it will build resilience in young people and provide them with opportunities to connect with others in a safe and supportive environment; here they will explore what it means to be autistic, learn to feel more confident about themselves and their abilities and develop strategies to help with the challenges ahead.

Autism West Midlands Teens Autism Confident Programme is aimed at 13-18 year old Birmingham residents and runs for three years. It is a partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, who will part-fund in years two and three.

We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop this programme for the teenage age group. Through this work we can help young people build the foundations for a successful transition to adulthood.

Hilary McGlynn Operations Manager – Community Services

Autism West Midlands has recently completed a pilot programme for Teens Autism Confident and feedback has shown improvements in the confidence and self esteem of the young people attending. Autism West Midlands will be evaluating the longer term impact of the programme and will produce a report to share learning with other local areas who may wish to adopt similar approaches.

There has already been great interest in the course and a waiting list has been set up for the second intake due to begin in February 2020.

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