Families struggling to find their way through the special needs maze for their children and young people with Autism and/or ADHD can now set their sights on a service called GEMS – a single point of contact for information, advice and support.

Launched in the Autumn, GEMS was set up to get the help needed into the hands of parents and carers through improved communication and a focus on the well-being of people with autism and/or ADHD. The service is being delivered by Solutions4Health on behalf of the East Berkshire NHS CCG, working with a number of partner service providers including The Autism Group (TAG) based in Maidenhead and Reading Based Parenting Special Children.

For parents facing a long wait for a diagnosis for their young person, the challenge of how best to support their child can feel both bewildering and exhausting. While others who feel they fought a long battle for diagnosis can be left wondering ‘what next?’

Knowing that there is one place to turn to for advice, support and to more easily connect with other families affected by autism aims to ease the sense of isolation and worry experienced by the more than 4,000 people across East Berkshire estimated to be affected by autism.

Whether it’s accessing the range of free parent workshops, booking a 1:1 call from a trained home visit support worker to talk through specific issues or joining in the social activities and support groups on offer, the mission is to give families the knowledge, support and confidence to thrive.

Feedback to TAG from parents suggest the autism services provide a much-needed lifeline to local families, as these respondents reveal:

“I felt really at ease through the whole chat with Sharon. No question was un answered no matter how little they seemed. Felt a weigh lifted by sharing my issues.”

 “Great speaking to Dawn very helpful and understanding. Nice to know I have someone to talk to with lots of knowledge and ideas.”

The innovative collaboration between local charity providers such as TAG, and Solutions4Health is set to cut a clearer path for parents searching for help when autism and ADHD impacts their family.

Leena Sankla, Director of Public Health & Lifestyle Services at Solutions 4 Health said: “We are pleased to be the new provider of this innovative autism and ADHD service and are keen to give residents across East Berkshire the best possible chance of access to information, advice and support.”

The GEMS service is open to anyone living in East Berkshire (RBWM, Slough Borough Council and Bracknell Forest Council )and can be found by visiting:

The website: https://www.solutions4health.co.uk/our-services/gems/
or calling: 01753 373 224/ 0800 999 1342
or e-mail: gems4health@nhs.net