NHSCT works with NOW Group to introduce a new JAM Card – “Please be patient I am autistic”
The NHSCT embarked on a journey in late 2019 with NOW Group to become a JAM Card friendly organisation to support its service users as well as its own staff.
The JAM Card, which stands for Just A Minute, is a social innovation from the NOW Group, an organisation that supports people with autism and learning difficulties into employment. Previously their service users had said they would like a discreet way of telling people that sometimes they need a little extra time and patience.
It was initially created as a credit card sized card and has recently been developed into an app for smartphones. There are currently approximately 70,000 JAM card users, and over 5,500 JAM Card App users.
Co-design has always been at the heart of JAM Card, and in keeping with this ethos the NHSCT fed back to NOW Group the views and wishes of the Northern Area Autism Reference Group which was focused on a change in terminology that they wanted to see. At the same time JAM Card users had also been highlighting to NOW Group that they would like a new JAM Card which states ‘Please be patient, I am autistic’. As a result a new addition to the JAM Card Family has been formally introduced (shown below), and the NHSCT is delighted to be the first organisation to access this for its service users and staff
Jayne Colville, ASD Service Improvement Coordinator for the NHSCT said – I am delighted to have worked with NOW Group in the introduction of this new card. It is vital in supporting our autistic community that we in the NHSCT always do this by listening to their views and wishes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Northern Area Autism Reference Group for the hard work, dedication and time that they give to supporting and advising us to ensure we provide accessible, appropriate and equitable services for the autistic community.
Debbie a member of the Northern Area Autism Reference Group commented saying that -
As an autistic adult carrying a JAM card helps to reduce my anxiety about going to JAM friendly spaces, as I know if I have any problems they will understand and give me the time I need. It means that I do not need to verbalise the problem, something I may not be able to do, but can simply show the card. I really like the new wording using identity first language, as autism is a fundamental part of who I am, not something I have and can be separated from me.’
Elvin another member of the Northern Area Autism Reference group said – “For me, sometimes what people say to me sounds like a different language, and I need a moment to “translate it” - it’s not about lack of understanding due to low intelligence, it’s about my mind having a different way of processing information”
Diane Hill, Director of Business & Organisational Development at NOW Group said; “We are grateful to the Northern Area Autism Reference group and the Trust for their long-term support of and engagement with JAM Card. Co-design is fundamental to all NOW Group services. We welcome feedback and innovation from our partners so JAM Card can keep evolving and continuing to support people with communication barriers.”