Developing guidance on providing psychoeducation after an autism diagnosis
This is a short piece of work commissioned by NHS England arising directly from previous research we have done on specialist provision for autistic adults (the SHAPE project). This identified the importance of high quality, extended psychoeducation following a diagnosis of autism. In this new project we are working with expert groups to develop guidance on providing group-delivered, psychoeducation for autistic adults.
Being diagnosed with autism is a significant event for many people, generating complex emotions and requiring a process of assimilation and adjustment. Our earlier research found that autistic adults typically describe psychoeducation in the post-diagnostic period as helping that process, and that it may reduce the risk of deteriorations in mental health post-diagnosis. Psychoeducation integrates educational and psychotherapeutic elements to address information and support needs arising from a new diagnosis. For autism, their objective is to: develop understanding and acceptance of autism; address information needs; and support the development of adaptive strategies to manage everyday life. In England, only a small minority of autism diagnostic services provide such support. If psychoeducation interventions are to become more widespread, it is important that commissioners and clinical leads have access to guidance on how to provide a high quality psychoeducation intervention.
About this project
This project will identify the key components of ‘good’ group-delivered, psychoeducation for autistic adults (without learning disabilities) and provide guidance on how to deliver this sort of intervention, either face-to-face or online. We will do this by consulting with three expert groups: autistic adults, family members (partners and parents), and clinical teams with extensive experience of providing psychoeducation, including Experts by Experience (EbE) facilitators working in these teams. We are using online focus groups and workshops to consult with these different groups and come to a consensus on what a ‘good’ psychoeducation intervention for autistic adults looks like, as well best practice regarding its implementation and delivery.