Local charity workers immerse themselves in an alternate reality

Colleagues at Havens Hospices immersed themselves into the world of autism recently, thanks to an autism reality experience.

The experience was organised for the Children & Young People Care and Wellbeing Team at Little Havens in Benfleet but open to all colleagues across the charity who may meet and work closely with children, young people and adults on the autism spectrum.

Delivered by training2care in a mobile simulator, the autism reality experience is as true to life as currently possible and is changing the landscape of understanding autism.

The innovative, immersive, hands-on training session gives neurotypical people an understanding of the sensory processing difficulties faced by autistic people, replicating sensory overload and how it affects people.

Jane Fieldson, Children & Young People Wellbeing Service Lead at Havens Hospices, says, “Autism currently affects 1–2% of the UK population, and many of the children we care for are autistic alongside other complex medical and social needs. So, it’s essential that the Care Team and other colleagues understand the impact of autism.

“The autism reality experience allowed us to see, hear and feel what it may be like for those experiencing sensory overload and how they may feel.

“It’s important we can recognise when someone is overwhelmed and experiencing sensory overload, so we can better support them and their families at the hospice and in the community.”

Little Havens, part of Havens Hospices, is the children’s and young person’s hospice for Essex, supporting the care of a child or young person up to the age of 25 at the end of their life.

It offers day stay sessions, groups, activities, counselling, complementary and creative therapies, as well as overnight respite breaks, emergency stays for children and young people who are diagnosed with a complex or incurable condition

The care provided by the charity is completely free of charge, thanks to the generosity of individuals and groups, raising money and making donations.

As well as providing care and support to patients in the local community, Havens Hospices also offer external courses for professionals to support their roles. Upcoming courses include children and grief, teens dealing with grief and bereavement and loss.

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Two nurses sitting down in a mobile simulator with trainer