A NEW toolkit which offers an insight into Autism through the eyes of a group of Bradford youngsters has been unveiled.

‘Autism from a Young Person’s Perspective’ includes first hand examples, case studies, drawings and poetry to help people to understand what Autism is.

It also gives a view of how people with the condition feel and believe society feel about them, how to offer appropriate support and how people want to be supported and treated.

The Autism Toolkit was developed by a group of ten youngsters, aged between ten and 21, who are on the Autistic spectrum. They attended a summer project run by Barnardo’s - Healthy Minds Project and supported by Bradford District Care Trust’s Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service and also Bradford Council.

The group members wrote how they would like to be understood and supported by adults at their regular workshops.

This toolkit contains a variety of topics the young people felt were relevant to their daily lives. These included professional support, schooling, socialising and transitioning into adult services.

The toolkit is aimed at health and educational professionals and also parents and carers of young people.

It offers 12 tips for professionals on how they can make services more inclusive for young people and advice and support for professionals. It is based on young people’s direct experience of services.

Catherine Wright, occupational therapist at Bradford District Care Trust, said: “It’s important that people understand what it’s like to be a young person living with autism and I think we achieved this with the toolkit.

"There’s very little written about Autism by young people.

"This powerful tool helps to give people confidence by giving young people a voice.”

Ketisha Dale, healthy minds participation worker at Barnardo’s Children’s Charity, said: “It focuses on the positives of Autism as well as what the young people, and their parents and carers, identify as some negatives in relation to accessing support and challenging incorrect perceptions of the condition.

"The result is an insightful, emotive and useful toolkit that looks at Autism from a realistic and human perspective.”

For more information, or to receive a copy of ‘Autism from a young person’s perspective’, email ketisha.dale@barnardos.org.uk or go to barnardos.org.uk/cygnet/yk_cygnet-bradford_district_services.htm.