Work in Derbyshire

I am committed to improving both the local area that I live in and also the opportunities and support for autistic people. As such, I undertake a variety of work in the county, often within healthcare provision, that combines both of these.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust:

Working with the Adult Autism Diagnostic Team at the trust I contribute to monthly Level Two Autism Awareness training from a lived experience perspective. This typically involves speaking for between forty-five to sixty minutes about my experiences of working with the trust as a patient and someone in receipt of their services. This is both from mental health and family provision and the trust also holds the health visiting contract for Derby City.

The feedback I have received for this has always been excellent, both via the evaluation completed by the team and also by the number of people who introduce themselves to me in the library where I often study. I also contribute to different projects as they arise. Most recently I have assisted with interviewing new team leads and am developing a leaflet about parenting for autistic people to be published by Derbyshire County Council.

Derbyshire Autism Partnership Board:

I am a self-advocating member of the Derbyshire Autism Partnership Board, which was created to meet the requirements of the National Autism Strategy for the county. It meets every three months and integrates the work taking place across the county in a multitude of areas, from benefits and welfare through to education.

This contribution is particularly important to me given how instrumental the autism strategy for the county can be for improving the situation for autistic people in Derbyshire. It also affords me a wider view of what is happening within Derbyshire across a greater area than only that I am heavily involved in.

Southern Derbyshire CCG:

Hardwick CCG has supported a number of personal health budget applications that I have made that have not only hastened and maintained my recovery in the last two years, but also created alternative crisis support to avoid me being admitted by secondary mental health.

To support the CCG is developing the person-centred approach their personal health budget application has become I created a video with the lead commissioner, Tina Brown, describing my story and the impact my PHB had. In developing the digital presence for Derbyshire’s PHB local offer I also worked with Tina and the video editing team to create a cohesive and welcoming information page (click here to visit it) for anyone in the county seeking further information or hoping to apply for a personal health budget themselves.

Derbyshire Community Health Services:

After a traumatic experience visiting the Derby City Family Planning clinic which triggered my sensory differences particularly badly I was invited back to deliver a short piece of training to the staff in this team about the kinds of challenges, an autistic person might have using and visiting their service.

This was really well received and more recently the trust approached me to create a training video to explain more expansively some of the difficulties in accessing healthcare as an autistic person. The trust manage a number of GP surgeries in Derbyshire, as well as the county’s urgent care centres. The video will be delivered in the first person to hopefully give an authentic look and feel about what going into a busy, brightly lit and chaotic hospital. As the project develops I will update this page.