A themed Christmas tree is helping to raise autism awareness in Stowmarket over the festive period.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s Suffolk Autism Diagnostic Service has decorated a Christmas tree with information baubles to help make people think about how difficult the festive period could be for someone with the condition.
The tree is on display in Stowmarket Library as part of the town’s annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Staff and service users made baubles sharing their stories and included information about famous faces, including TV presenter Guy Martin, singer Susan Boyle and actor Anthony Hopkins, who all have autism.
Suffolk Autism Diagnostic Service provides autism diagnosis and support.
Marcina King, clinical team leader, said: “Things change at Christmas as we decorate our houses, eat different food, have time off work and may see people we don’t see all year.
“This often means routines are disrupted and people with autism can struggle to process this and may feel overwhelmed. “We can help people with the condition by allowing them to carry on with their normal routines and giving them time to prepare or recover from social celebrations.”
Jane Tipple, assistant practitioner, said: “This is the first year we have been involved with the festival and we wanted to help people understand more about people with autism, who may be part of social groups or in families, and how they are affected by seasonal celebrations.
“This is a fun and festive way to display information and start conversations about the condition.”
Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival features trees decorated by local groups and organisations. It is open to visitors until January 6.