Autism NHS health experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic!
A personal account by Nick Stone from Asperger London Area Group
In adulthood, I was diagnosed with Adult attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) first, and then autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I suspected that I had ADHD, with my poor attention span and impulsive nature. The ASD diagnosis was a surprise. But does now explain my preferences for routines, rules-based thinking and special interests.
Since diagnosis, I joined the Asperger London Area Group. This has been a welcome membership group to meet other autistic adults to share experiences and offer guidance in a safe environment. Latterly, I’ve been a peer support facilitator for the Autism Hub Islington – which offers support for other autistic adults here in the boroughs of Islington and Camden.
COVID-19 Vaccination experience
In January 2021, I was offered the chance to receive the Astra Zeneca COVID vaccination. I accepted this. In the days before vaccination, I was anxious. Those anxieties included the procedure and any discomfort during the vaccination.
I am pleased to say that the NHS vaccination process was excellent. The staff were friendly and efficient. They answered all my questions, which really helped to deal with my anxieties. The vaccination was painless with almost no sensation.
Afterwards and as instructed, I remained seated for 15 minutes in a designated waiting area. This provided a welcome opportunity to discuss the experience with other people, who had also just been vaccinated.
I recommend other people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Other health care experiences
During the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, other NHS health experiences have been good. A dental check-up was arranged at a week’s notice, and follow-up works a week after that. The dentists ensured the COVID-19 compliance and filling disclosure notices.
My GP has arranged a prompt telephone call to arrange other medical matters.
COVID-19 vaccination and Autistic adults
Autistic adults will be covered in the vaccine roll-out by their age, but no announcement has been made about offering the vaccine earlier to autistic people who don’t have a learning disability.
In order to get the vaccine, you must be registered with a GP. When it is your turn, you will receive an invitation from the NHS to be vaccinated. For most people, this will be a letter from your local GP or the national NHS (some people may receive a text or email from their GP practice). This letter will include all the information you need to book appointments, including your NHS number.
Visit here for more information about autism and coronavirus vaccine.
Learning about vaccines
NHS England has published a film on vaccinations for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people. This applies generally to all vaccines, including the coronavirus vaccine. The video describes what a vaccine is, how vaccines are made, whether a vaccine can make you ill and how to decide whether to have a vaccine. The link will also take you to other videos about vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.
Autism alert scheme card by London police forces
People with autism across London are offered new autism alert cards or passports as part of a scheme by the Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police and British Transport Police. The cards are designed to make police officers aware that a person has autism, may have communication difficulties, and behave differently from other people. Officers will then respond appropriately by changing the way they interact with the person to make them feel more at ease. Find more about these cards here. These Autism Alert Cards/Passports can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Asperger London Area Group and Autism Hub Islington are partnering with Healthwatch Camden to offer a free webinar on the vaccination programme and vaccine passports on 11 May from 7pm to 8.30 pm. Find out more.