Autism training for Northern Ireland Housing Executive staff

Date published: 29 March 2023

Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) staff are to take part in a series of training sessions to increase their understanding of autism.

Autism training for Northern Ireland Housing Executive staff
Judith Finlay (DoH), Maureen Mawhinney (NIHE), Tara Kelly (NIHE), and David McLaughlin (Cedar Foundation) at the launch of the autism training programme.

The initiative, arranged by NIHE and jointly delivered by the Department of Health and the Cedar Foundation, will assist NIHE staff in supporting their customers and tenants.

The specialised training programme is being launched to coincide with Autism Acceptance Week, which runs until 2 April. 

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Autism is a spectrum condition which affects people in different ways.

“Some may experience difficulty processing sensory information, others may experience challenges in communication and social engagement.

“We welcome the proactive approach that NIHE is taking to enable staff to be more informed about the challenges that autistic people experience.

“We hope that this increased knowledge will provide greater support and confidence for autistic people as they engage with services.”

The training sessions will be held over the coming months, starting in April, involving approximately 600 NIHE staff.

Maureen Mawhinney, NIHE Disability Steering Group lead, explained the importance of providing autism awareness training for staff.

“We are committed to ensuring that there is a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment for all our customers and tenants.

“This training will help to increase our staff’s awareness and skills so that they can support autistic people to access services, employment, independent living and enjoy a life with the opportunities to live as active citizens.

“It will assist us in developing strategies and techniques to engage fully with autistic customers and staff.

“We hope that our staff will have increased confidence in engaging with these customer groups and understand how they can assist autistic customers to access services and retain employment and tenancies.

“The training will help us to be better at what we do and deliver a better service.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The training sessions are being delivered in collaboration with the Cedar Foundation, a charity supporting people who are autistic, living with a disability, or have a brain injury.

2. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail  

3. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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