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

Inspired by the potential of the people who use The Disabilities Trust, our Autism services support people with autism to live independent and fulfilled lives. We offer individually tailored support aimed at best meeting the individual needs of service users to achieve their full potential. Our focus is to highlight and further support 'ability' where there may be disability. We promote the individual's right to privacy, respect, choice and inclusion and encourage people to express their views and concerns through regular liaison with their families, carers and our multi disciplinary team.

Autism is a complex disability and no two people have the same needs. Our detailed assessment procedure is designed by experts to determine the level of support needed by each individual. We are committed to finding new ways of understanding the views of those who have communication difficulties and tailor our communication methods to best meet the needs of that person.

Pre-admission information

At The Maples, our detailed assessment procedure is designed by experts to determine the level of support needed by each individual.We use a combination of methods to accurately assess each individual's needs including collating reports from professionals, meeting with the client and their family and talking to service providers. A team then provides a detailed assessment of each individual's autism profile, behaviour and support needs. This informs the needs-driven support plan for the individual's move to one of the Autism services.

Our standards

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

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

Team and environment

Our members of staff are selected for their qualifications and experience, their passion to respect service users as individuals and their ability to support people to achieve their own individual potential and long-term goals.

We recognise that everybody with autism is different and the emphasis on staff training is to equip our team with the skills to enhance communication. We match staff members to service users who share similar interests, which further engenders a sense of working together.

As well as the required mandatory training in line with CQC standards, all members of staff receive autism specific training. The team has developed foundation level person centred training consisting of a four day course - Attitudes and Values, Autism Spectrum Conditions, Communicating Effectively, Person Centred Approaches.

Advanced level training is also available and is being developed further, this includes - Autism Spectrum Conditions and Mental Health, Autism Spectrum Conditions and Sexuality, Sensory Issues, Further Communication, Key-Worker Role, PCP Facilitation Skills, Mental Capacity. The team are in the process of acquiring endorsement from respected further education establishments to accredit the advanced training to diploma level.

Staff also have licensed Makaton training. This is a language programme using speech, signs and symbols, providing basic communication and everyday vocabulary which helps develop language and literacy skills. We have trained staff to deliver this in-house to ensure consistency and to tailor training for particular appropriate environments in which individuals are living. We also feel that it is important to use local knowledge and expertise. We have close links with the primary care teams and foster relationships to share best practice.

Positive behaviour support planning

When a person moves into The Maples, their unique autism profile is explored in depth. By focusing on social interaction, communication, flexibility of thought and sensory issues, we can evaluate the impact of autism on daily functioning and offer strategies to support this. Initial autism referrals are generally made via a Local Health Authority or Social Services.

Life skills and promoting independence

Our autism services place a high value on promoting life skills and independence among its service users who are encouraged to take an active part in organising events and activities.

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.

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