The poorly understood topic of how autistic people perceive and manage pain was explored with three speakers. The first two – members of ALAG and the Autism Hub – offered a mix of research, lived experiences, clinical processes, research and personal management. This was detailed and insightful, as well as covering the issue of interoception – the ability to effectively understand internal physical and mental clues. Of note, were professional responses to medical needs with gender discrimination being raised.
Audience responses suggest a great deal of resonance. There were questions and comments on long Covid and chronic fatigue. Fascinating discussions developed on the interaction between senses, physical pain and mental pain. Sensory overload, the perception of this overload and responses are linked with autism and pain management.
The evening’s final speaker was Joelle Makwana, an exercise and rehab specialist from Nuffield Health- Moorgate branch. Nuffield Health is a healthcare charity working in partnership with the NHS. Joelle introduced the audience to inform about the free 24 week Joint Pain Wellbeing Programme she runs and touched upon the Covid 19 Rehabilitation Programme that is also being introduced at the various Nuffield Health centres. Positive audience responses suggest, programme interest and take-up.
Further information about the programme:
Overall this was engaging evening, with great speaker content, resonating audience comments and plenty to consider.
Nick Stone, Autism Hub peer support facilitator & ALAG member, 7 August 2023