New autism hub opens in South Tyneside

South Tyneside Council is today (Jan 14) celebrating the opening of a brand-new autism hub in South Shields, aimed at better supporting local people with autism and their families.

The new centre, based on Gordon Street in South Shields, will provide support for all ages and their families. The Toby Henderson Trust will cater for children and young people from Mondays to Wednesdays and Autism in Mind will be working with older people on Thursdays and Fridays.

The hub will offer drop-in support and advice sessions for families in the area and more formal sessions are on offer should people wish.

Other support includes access to resources and peer support, themed workshops on issues such as occupational therapy, mental health, sensory processing, signposting and practical advice and support.

Families can use this new centre to lean on for help, from an autism diagnosis to maintaining daily routines, which can often affect families to varying degrees. Studies have shown a link between having a child with autism and emotional distress with evidence also linking an autism diagnosis to marital breakdown.

Local surveys have indicated that around 40% of families didn’t achieve what they expected by getting a diagnosis. Adults living with autism have indicated that they struggled to understand their diagnosis and evidence suggests that a lack of the right support can lead to crisis.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader with responsibility for Wellbeing and Independence, said:

“This hub is a proactive response to feedback from people with autism and their families and carers who told us they need more support. These groups have played a key role in the creation of this new service and will continue to shape it in the coming months.

“With higher-than-average diagnosis rates of autism in South Tyneside, we know this hub will be well-used and we hope highly valued by those it will support.”

The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick and Mrs Jean Williamson, officially launched the new service.

Photo: Vicki Pattinson, Head of Adults and Integrated care at the Council and Dr James Gordon from the CCG, with the Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Norman Dick and Mrs Jean Williamson


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