"I hope they get recognised for their superb service"

About: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

I was given a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (on the autism spectrum) as an adult. It came as no real surprise as I've suspected it for a few years, but to have it confirmed has made a significant difference to my attitudes towards my abilities and my self-perceived failures.

The Autism Diagnostic Services for Suffolk was absolutely wonderful. I was seen by the lead clinical psychologist, Dr Colm Magee, and he was so friendly and warm. He made the 2. 5 hour appointment very easy and comfortable for me, treated me as someone who actually mattered in the system, and left me feeling that I hadn't been going slowly insane all these years! Since then I've had two follow-up appointments for the post-diagnosis process, and have attended a series of five classes for newly-diagnosed Asperger adults also run by the same centre. In addition to this, the centre has arranged for monthly social groups that they host along with other volunteers. The staff seem to go out of their way to help people on the autism spectrum.

More recently I had a bad meltdown episode. I was able to call the centre and received direct support from senior practitioner Trudie Timms who was an enormous help in calming me down, and my clinical psychologist Dr Magee called the following day to help with coping strategies and a way forward. Without them, I'm not sure I'd be here writing this today (yes, I crashed THAT hard). For all the flack the NHS receives, there are clearly areas that are silently excellent. The Autism Diagnostic Service in Suffolk is one of them and I hope that they're recognised for their superb service.

The only thing that could be improved would be the terrifying intercom on the door!

For anyone in the Suffolk area contemplating diagnosis, it was a painless and pleasant experience, and I really recommend you go ahead with it. I just wish other areas of the UK were just as lucky, but reading the National Autistic Society boards and Reddit autism groups, it's clear that not all of the UK has anything like this great service. A pity.

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Response from Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. I'm so glad you had this positive experience, and have taken the time to let us know about it. I will make sure that the staff are aware of it.

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