Beth Fields, a charge nurse at Cedar Vale hospital in Nottingham, part of the Danshell Group, is using her knowledge and experience of supporting people with autism to enable other professionals to better understand the behaviours associated with the condition.
Beth, who is a registered learning disability nurse and completed a Bachelor of Philosophy – Special Education Autism (Adults) through Birmingham University in 2014, has already delivered an awareness course for Newark Police and is hoping to engage with local GPs, accident and emergency departments and the fire and ambulance service.
The course is designed to help professionals who may work with, or offer help and support to, people with autism to recognise and better understand behaviour patterns and body language, such as avoiding eye contact, which are typical of an autism diagnosis.
Beth said: “I love my role at Cedar Vale and being able to use this to reach out to other services, raise awareness and therefore improve the service provided to people with autism is an important and fulfilling part of it.
“People on the autism spectrum can handle stressful situations in many different ways. Individuals with autism may struggle to communicate, make appropriate eye contact, or even respond to someone asking them their name. That is why recognising the signs, knowing how to act and knowing how to react are key and that is what the courses are designed for.
“Newark Police have been very receptive to the training and I hope that other first-responder organisations and individuals will take the opportunity to increase their awareness of autism so that we can promote more understanding and acceptance.”