MERSEYSIDE charity Autism Together has received a grant from The National Lottery to fund a number of free Autism Advice Sessions.
These sessions provide a confidential and safe environment to chat with a qualified talking therapist from the charity’s award-winning Autism Training and Advisory Service (ATAS).
Available to people with an autism spectrum diagnosis, the sessions can be taken either in person, at the charity’s Oak House head office in Bromborough, Wirral, when it is safe to do so, or otherwise through a virtual session over video chat.
Each session lasts for 50 minutes, with up to three free sessions available per person. After that, there is a charge for extra sessions.
While some people are referred to Autism Together by professionals, those with an autism diagnosis are able to refer themselves if they think they would benefit from the sessions.
Yvonne Smith and Michelle Walklett will lead the sessions, with support from others in the ATAS team. Both are recently qualified as talking therapists, having completed the Advanced Counselling Diploma Level 4.
Yvonne said: “It has been our experience that there are people with autism who, understandably, engage differently with talking therapy services. We feel that’s where we can help and offer an understanding, personalised approach.
“Receiving funding means that more individuals will have the opportunity to access this autism-specific support.”
During these sessions, Yvonne and Michelle can provide support by looking at coping strategies, offering a listening ear to reduce anxiety, or giving advice on anything from employment to relationships.
Autism advice sessions are suitable for adults aged 18+, or young people aged 14+ when accompanied by their parents.
To find out more about autism advice sessions and other services offered by Autism Together, visit the charity’s website: www.autismtogether.co.uk/autism-training/