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I felt quite isolated before but accessing new groups has increased my self-confidence and reduced my anxiety
Anna - Member

I noticed online that the Ben Fund had developed a partnership with the National Autistic Society.

I knew about the Ben Fund and that it can offer financial support in crisis. I had also seen that they offer a range of online webinars and workshops on mental health and financial planning. Whilst scrolling through Twitter though, I noticed that the Ben Fund had developed a partnership with the National Autistic Society. The tweet caught my attention because I had recently been diagnosed with autism and was struggling to come to terms with what it meant and how it would affect me. I wanted to learn as much as I could and so I got in touch with the Ben Fund office.

I was quickly referred to the National Autistic Society to get access to their support.

The lady from the National Autistic Society was extremely helpful and talked through all the services on offer on the phone. I was immediately signed up for the 10 year membership, thanks to the Ben Fund partnership. I hadn’t really thought of becoming a member before. As well as becoming a member, the lady at the National Autistic Society talked me through some e-learning modules I could work through at my own pace and that would support me in my everyday life, as well as help me make some improvements in the workplace.

I accessed the National Autistic Society online community straight away and this has made a big difference.

I get a magazine every quarter that really helps me. Reading about the experiences of other autistic people shows me I’m not alone and has helped me to develop various coping methods that I now use on a daily basis. The National Autistic Society has a good range of products to help both autistic adults and children.

After my autism diagnosis, I felt a little bit embarrassed but the more I learn, the more I understand that it is nothing to feel ashamed of and I shouldn’t try and hide it. We need to do much more to ensure autistic people are understood and included at work, as well as in social circles.

In my experience, GP services don’t really support people like me who are diagnosed with autism in adult life. I was lucky to receive some short-term post diagnosis support from my local Autism Spectrum Conditions Support Team, who provided my diagnosis. There may be more services available for young people, but I found it becomes increasing more difficult to find long-term support as an adult. It made a huge difference to me, to be introduced to a supportive community, with plenty of resources that would help me learn more.

This has given me the confidence to be even more honest and open and share my diagnosis with family, friends and engineering colleagues.



I’m so pleased the ICE Ben Fund has taken the initiative to raise the profile of autistic people and their needs

This collective support gives credibility and focus on autistic people’s needs and brings the conversation about autism into the inclusivity and diversity agenda.

Things have improved for me since receiving support. The National Autistic Society has helped me get a greater understanding about my diagnosis and how it affects me. It helps me communicate with work colleagues to help them understand that small changes in the workplace can improve my wellbeing and productivity hugely. I am very passionate about engineering and sometimes have unusual ways of communicating this. People are now more understanding of why that is the case and are more open to actively listening and understanding my point of view.

I’m looking forward to doing more through the NAS. They have support groups and companionship programmes you can access.

I can go on to do some volunteering or access parliamentary groups to raise the profile of autism within government.

The engineering community has changed quite considerably since I started my career. Much more is being done to embrace diversity. Women in engineering are receiving a more positive response but more can certainly be done to improve things further on the diversity agenda. Being inclusive and supporting autistic individuals should add to the good work that has been done already.

I don’t think I would have approached the NAS without the partnership with the Ben Fund.

It was the fact that my professional institution benevolent fund was supportive of autism that gave me the courage to approach them. 1 or 2 years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak out but now I encourage anyone to get in touch with the Ben Fund and connect with the National Autistic Society if you think you, or someone in your family, might be autistic; or if you, or a family member, has had a diagnosis. The support you receive is second to none.