The information on this page is designed for social and health care professionals including GPs, hospitals and CCGs. It will help you identify the most appropriate service for your client as quickly as possible.

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When a person is referred for an assessment at one of our autism services, a multi-disciplinary team provides a detailed appraisal of their autism profile, behaviour and support needs. Some people with autism may also have additional sensory / motor co-ordination, organisational and developmental issues and although individuals can differ greatly, they share a common number of underlying challenges including:

  • Difficulties with communication
  • Difficulties with social interaction
  • Difficulties with imagination

This assessment will then inform the needs-driven support plan for the individual to move to one of our autism services. When a person moves into the service, their unique autism profile is explored in depth.

By focussing on social interaction, communication, flexibility of thought and sensory issues, we are able to evaluate the impact of autism on daily functioning and offer strategies to support their needs. Initial referrals are generally via a Local Health Authority or Social Services.

Our standards

Our Autism services are committed to providing an environment which encourages personal development, confidence and independence to people with autistic spectrum disorders and learning disabilities, while our person centred approach puts the individual at the heart of everything that we do.

We offer individually tailored support to people in achieving their personal potential and to empower them to live their lives as independently as possible. Service users are encouraged to develop their social, vocational and recreational skills and ensure that they are fully involved in all decisions affecting their lives, allowing them to achieve their aspirations with and privacy, respect, choice and inclusion.

We make sure that any complaints are listened to and responded to within given timescales and regularly review and monitor our service to ensure effectiveness and quality.

Our commitment to service users

Our Autism services have developed a person centred approach based on seven guiding principles:

  • People using our services are at the centre of all that we do
  • There is a commitment to the belief that people using our service can achieve their full potential
  • Outcomes are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic, with timely targets
  • Individuality and Diversity are valued and celebrated
  • Quality is not compromised
  • Commitment to continuous improvement drives all plans and activities
  • Best Value is considered in all service provision

Life skills and promoting independence

Our Autism services place a high value on promoting life skills and independence among its service users. Residents are encouraged to take an active part in organising events and activities. Our therapy team is experienced in the latest treatment and education systems for people with autism and trained to help residents achieve their aspirations and enjoy a high quality of life.

The therapy team also plays a key role in person centred planning. As part of the multi-disciplinary team, they contribute towards progress reviews and are actively involved in transition planning, working with external agencies to reduce pressure on community teams and ensure the best possible support for our service users.

All service users enjoy access to a broad range of developmental activities and life skills including sports, crafts, music, arts and IT. Community inclusion is a priority, and service users are encouraged to visit local shops and leisure amenities on a regular basis. Service users also have access to vocational support, psychology and psychiatry services, and speech and language therapy.

Service users receive tailored support to meet their individual needs, enabling them to become actively involved in community life and educational activities. For those service users who wish to live more independently, we provide a range of specialist community-based housing projects for supported living.

autistic service user interacting with the sensory room at The maples

Therapeutic Team

Our therapeutic teams have expertise in psychology, speech and language therapy, psychiatry and music and art therapy. The team plays a key role in person centred planning, being involved in progress meetings and transition planning, reviewing service users' goals to ensure they are achieving their aspirations.

Staff members are selected for their qualifications and experience, their commitment to respecting service users as individuals and their ability to support people to achieve their individual potential and long-term goals. All members of the therapeutic team receive autism-specific training, which includes accredited foundation training courses consisting of Attitudes and Values, Autism Awareness, Communicating Effectively and Person Centred approaches.

Team members also receive licensed Makaton training - a language programme that uses speech, signs and symbols, providing basic communication and everyday vocabulary which helps develop language and literacy skills. To ensure consistency and relevance, training programmes are delivered in-house by our qualified staff. We feel that it is important to use local knowledge and expertise, and therefore have close links with primary care teams and foster relationships to share best practice.

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