New autism centre officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex

More than 150 people attended the opening of the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre at the Fulbourn Hospital site

New autism centre officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex
05 September 2013

A pioneering centre for people with autism has been officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex.

More than 150 people attended the opening of the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre at the Fulbourn Hospital site, part of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), on Thursday 5 September.

The Countess unveiled a plaque and was given a tour of the centre which has been made possible thanks to the Autism Research Trust (ART) and the National Autistic Society (NAS) who received a grant from the N Sethia Foundation to redevelop the existing building.

The Autism Centre will be the new home of CPFT’s Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service (CLASS) clinic. The clinic has been providing specialist diagnostic assessments for adults who may have Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism for over 10 years. Now the CLASS clinic has a dedicated home. The clinic will move to the new Autism Centre in September 2013.

The Autism Centre is also an opportunity to develop support and opportunities for people locally as well as nationally who have autism, including family support sessions, group meetings and activities.

In a speech to guests, The Countess said: "I am really very, very excited about this project. Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved in it so far and to all of you in the future, thank you very much indeed."

David Edwards, Chairman of CPFT, (pictured above with The Countess of Wessex) said: "I love the sense of community this centre will bring. This is real partnership in action - that is the future, today.
"We sincerely believe that the new Chitra Sethia Autism Centre will quickly become known as the place locally and nationally where people with autism and their families will find comfort and support."

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of CPFT’s CLASS and a trustee of ART, said: “This is a very exciting development. The new centre will provide a vital resource for adults with an autism spectrum condition and their families. By being closely linked to autism research it will also provide evidence-based standards of excellence in clinical practice.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS, said “We’re delighted to be a partner in this exciting new development which was made possible thanks to the generosity of The N Sethia Foundation.  Autism is a hidden condition and getting a diagnosis can be a critical milestone in enabling people to access the support they need.
"However, in our experience, adults wait far too long for a diagnosis, with 34% telling us in a recent survey that they’ve waited three years or more after first raising concerns.
"This new diagnostic centre will provide essential support to adults with autism and their families, and the services on offer will ensure that people with the disability achieve their ambitions and flourish.”

For more details on the CLASS Clinic click here.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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