Open Day will showcase new autism service
One of the UK’s leading children’s charities is holding an Open Day to showcase a new autism service that it has launched, and bosses at the charity say the service will transform the way thousands of children affected by the condition can be helped.
Caudwell Children, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, recently opened the Caudwell International Children’s Centre, set within the grounds of Keele University.
The £18 million Centre, located on Innovation Way, Keele Science & Innovation Park, is the UK’s first purpose built facility dedicated to providing assessment, support and research into neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism.
The Open Day will take place on Sunday 7th July, 2019, from 11.00am-3.00pm.
Currently parents seeking a diagnosis for their child have had to endure unacceptable delays in their assessments, with some families waiting up to 10 years for a diagnosis.
Under current NHS guidelines children who are thought to be autistic are meant to be assessed within three months. But a report by former Health Minister Norman Lamb, in July 2018, revealed families are being forced to wait more than two years to be assessed and almost four years to be receive a diagnosis.
But thanks to Caudwell Children’s multidisciplinary team of clinicians, experts and therapists, who are bringing together assessment, diagnosis, family support and research into autism under one roof, children aged 4-11 can now be diagnosed in as little as six weeks.
And now the charity is throwing open the doors to the Centre to allow interested parents to find out how Caudwell Children could support their child.
Victoria Priest’s daughter, Layla, was one of the first children to use Caudwell Children’s new Autism Service, and she believes it will be invaluable to those seeking a diagnosis. As she explained: “We really struggled to get Layla assessed when she was younger despite her behavioural issues.
“I knew something wasn’t right but we were told to ignore it by the health professionals who said she would grow out of it!
“We’d tried everything to get some sort of diagnosis but nobody seemed to care and nobody would listen to us.
“Layla was 10 when we took her to Caudwell Children, in March this year, and within weeks of her assessment we had a diagnosis, I couldn’t believe it!”
Rather than children having to be seen by a number of specialists, at various locations, on different dates, Caudwell Children’s Autism Service allows children to access a multi-disciplinary team of specialists in one place.
An early diagnosis of autism can be vital in helping families understand their child’s behaviour, as well as putting support in place to help them cope.
“The staff at Caudwell Children were the first people to listen to me and looked at my evidence,” continued Charlotte. “This new centre will provide hope for thousands of families like mine that are fighting to get a diagnosis for their children.”
Children diagnosed with autism, through the service, will then be offered a one year programme of support from the charity’s team of speech, language and occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, learning disability nurses, and a specialist doctor.
Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said: “We have spent the last 19 years listening to families telling us they do not get the support they need.
“It is their stories that are at the heart of this project and their needs have shaped the new service and the Centre.
“When all evidence points to the long-term benefits of early intervention, the delays families face are not acceptable and Caudwell Children aims to change the way families access support and prove there is a better way.
“The Open Day will be a fantastic opportunity for parents to ask the Caudwell Children team about our Autism Service.
“They will be able to answer any questions, like how to get your child referred, before being taken on a guided tour of the centre to see our state-of-the-art assessment suites, workshop spaces, and our award winning sensory garden which helps children interact with nature.
“It’s going to be a fabulous day!”
You can find out more about Caudwell Children’s Autism Service here.