For people with autism, the transition to adulthood can be especially hard to handle.
In early 2019, we were introduced to Dan*, who had just turned 18. Dan has autism, and his behaviour can be challenging.
Before Dan turned 18, he’d been living in a residential home for children, where he spent most of the time in his room. He would damage property, and harm both himself and those around him. This happened several times a week, and staff became scared of supporting him.
In May 2019, Dan moved into one of our Transforming Care step-through flats in Leicester. This interim move allowed our specialist clinical team to review what support would best suit him.
We saw that Dan prefers minimal contact with staff. We also observed that he likes confident support workers, preferably male. And, through talking to his father and previous support provider, we found the routines that worked best for Dan. For instance, he likes to go out at 11am every day to buy a Coke Zero – a routine that makes him less anxious.
We ensured that Dan’s support team received dedicated training in autism and other specialist topics, such as the PROACT-ScipR course.
“We finally feel that we have got our old son back” – Dan’s parents
After nine months in the step-through flat, Dan moved to his own flat in Leicester city centre in February 2020. To ensure a smooth transition, his support manager and two other staff transferred with him.
Since we started supporting Dan, his behaviour has changed hugely. There have been no major incidents of aggression since 2019. Dan enjoys being out and about – visiting the park and shops every day, and shopping with his support team. He recently enjoyed a barbeque with staff in the communal garden.
He is also spending more time with his family – up to two hours, compared with 15 minutes previously. For the first time in years, he has been able to sit on the sofa with his father. His parents said: “We now spend quality time with him every time we visit”.
We have also supported Dan to have a healthier diet – he used to eat ice cream every day, but now his team have agreed a weekly ‘ice cream day’ with him.
His parents added: “In May last year we handed you support of the most precious thing we have and you have all done a fantastic job with him. We finally feel that we have got our old son back after a very long and stressful time of behaviours and uncertainty…thank you all so much for being part of his life journey.”
*Dan is a name we’ve chosen to protect the identity of the person in this story