Autistic woman's postcards used to help others understand condition

Dan Redfearn, Helen Larder and her daughter Hayden hope the postcards will give new insight into autism. Credit: Photo: University of Salford

The family of a autistic woman have helped her to create a set of postcards to use as a 'training pack' so families and medical professionals can better understand the condition.

Hayden Larder, who was diagnosed with autism at 16, was encouraged by her mother, Helen, to draw and tell stories about her feelings when she was growing up.

The cartoon characters Hayden drew and messages describing her complicated emotions have been incorporated into a set of postcards.

The drawings include scenes such as a young person telling an adult that they cannot cope with friends coming to visit and thought bubbles explaining that things are 'too loud, too bright, too confusing'.

Helen showed the cards to medical and educational professionals to give them a new insight into what Hayden, who is now 25, was going through.

Hayden and her mother worked closely with Dan Redfearn, lecturer in nursing and social work at Salford University, to create the pack.

The postcards will be aimed at care providers and staff in schools and charities, as well as families learning to adjust after a child has been diagnosed with autism.

Helen also spoke of the 'misunderstanding' surrounding her daughter's condition and the suffering it can cause.

The postcards have formed part of a training resource called 'Understanding Autism: A training pack for support staff and professionals' which will be published later this month.