New text messaging service for people with autism launched in Leicester

New text messaging service for people with autism launched in Leicester
New text messaging service for people with autism launched in Leicester

FREE SERVICE: The service was developed using multi-award winning ChatHealth technology.

More people with autism will be able to access personalized advice and support with the launch of a new ChatAutisme text messaging service.

Created by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), ChatAutism is a free and confidential service run by the Trust’s Specialist Autism Team (SAT) and is now open to anyone living in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland with autism.

This includes children and adults of all ages, as well as their families and/or caregivers. The service will now also answer questions from people who think they may have autism or are awaiting a diagnosis.

The service can provide assistance on topics such as:

  • emotional well-being
  • How to have a healthy lifestyle
  • How to have healthy relationships
  • Advice on drugs, alcohol and smoking
  • Support for understanding autism
  • Signposting to useful resources
  • Assessment and diagnostic advice.

AutismChat is the first and only service in the UK to offer health care via SMS to people with autism. It was initially launched in November 2021 by the SAT team to strengthen its support for people with autism aged 14 and over, including adults. Since then, demand has grown rapidly, leading the team to employ an additional healthcare professional to support the service.

Faye Harwood, Digital LPT Practitioner for the SAT, said: “We are so proud of this new service and we are so happy that it is really helping people and making a difference in their lives. Studies have shown that text messaging is often a less stressful way for people with autism to communicate; it allows them to put their thoughts down, gives them time to digest messages, reflect and compose a response without the pressure to respond immediately.

“We are excited about the next phase of this service and hope to be able to help even more people. After listening to feedback, we have decided to expand our access criteria to include advice and support covering children with autism and those awaiting a diagnosis or think they may have autism, as part of a project one year pilot. We therefore encourage anyone who would like our support to contact us.”

The ChatAutisme service was developed using the trust’s ChatHealth technology. During the developmental stages, people with autism and their parents and guardians were involved to identify considerations and adjustments that could be made to support them and make AutismChat a success, such as avoiding ambiguous language in messages.

Helen Thompson, Director of Family, Youth and Children’s Services and Learning Disabilities at LPT, said: “We hope that by providing new ways for people with autism, their families and carers to get Early help for common health issues will mean they won’t get worse or need more specialized treatment. However, for those in need of more intensive support who come in contact via AutismChat, we are able to refer them to get the help they need from our team of autism specialists or other services.

For more information on the Autism Specialist Team and ChatAutisme, visit the website here

The service is safe and easy to use. Support is available via SMS 07312 277097 and a response will be sent within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.


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. launch dun new service messaging text for people autism Leicester

. text messaging service people autism launched Leicester