BVSC Research was commissioned by Autism West Midlands to evaluate the Teens Autism Confident programme.

The Teens Autism Confident programme is aimed at supporting autistic teenagers to understand their condition and respond positively to it. This was built upon a previously successful course targeting adults, with the belief that encouraging autistic teenagers to feel more confident about being autistic can improve how they feel about themselves in teenage years and later in life, reducing negative feelings and mitigating potential mental health difficulties.

Teens Autism Confident comprises of six weekly group sessions, with a one-to-one session with and autism specialist at the beginning and end of the six weeks. These sessions support the young people in developing coping strategies and support networks, building resilience, improving self-esteem, increasing confidence, understanding anxiety and how to manage it. They also provide a space for autistic young people to connect in a safe and supportive environment, reducing isolation.

The evaluation had the following aims:

  • Assessment of the effectiveness of effectiveness of the approach taken
  • Identification of barriers, facilitating factors and the impact for clients
  • Assessment of the use of evaluation tools and their efficacy
  • Identification of critical success factors and lessons learned
  • Make recommendations to inform the future direction of the work and its sustainability

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