At The Maples we seek to provide an environment that encourages personal development, confidence and independence, and service users are encouraged to take advantage of a wide range of IT and educational packages. 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.

Our autism services support people to develop their social, vocational and recreational skills and ensure that each person is fully involved in all decisions affecting their lives. 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.

autistic service user playing a support worker at snooker in The Maples

We actively promote the involvement of families, and seek to involve service users in every decision that affects their lives, as well as offering support, education and continuing help to their carers and friends.

The Disabilities Trust is committed to developing person centred plans to maximise service users' independence and encourage them to attain their full potential through our Opportunity to Achieve programme.

Activities and education

Staff are trained to help residents achieve their aspirations and enjoy a high quality of life according to their person centred plans, and residents are encouraged to take part in the organisation of events and activities. We offer a wide range of optional activities and events, making full use of in-house facilities and the surrounding amenities and the nearby town of Reading, which offers excellent facilities for leisure, recreation and social activities.

The Maples runs a learning centre onsite and hosts other activities in nearby Mapledurham, offering structured daily living programmes on the basis of TEACCH. Off site, activities include swimming, bowling, golf, personal shopping trips and attending local educational and vocational colleges.

The staff team receive a range of autism specific training, and our buildings and environments are developed to reflect the specific needs of the residents. The Maples has its own psychology and speech and language department, also available to the four houses in the community, which offers advice and support.

Our autism services' strategy of 'Life Long Learning' encourages service users to access educational training courses and vocational training so that they have an opportunity to secure paid employment if they choose and to live life more independently.

A Specialist Placement Manager advises and trains staff to create bespoke packages for individuals. These include course that are accredited by educational institutions or are recognised qualifications such as QCF and GCSE equivalent. There are also opportunities to take up apprenticeships with local businesses. The curriculum includes functional skills, employability and life skills which focus on teamwork, and assisting with social inclusion in the community.