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How we support people with autism

How we plan support

When we start supporting someone with autism, we first assess their behaviour, communication and socialisation, as well as their day-to-day care and support requirements.

Observation in their environment is crucial. This helps us understand their needs, abilities and strengths, hypersensitivities – to touch, light or sound, for instance – and any fears, obstacles and fixations.

We also use the assessment to explore behaviour management strategies and risks.

Working with the person and those who know them well, we use the assessment to develop a support plan.  We enable the people we support to have choice and control over their plans.

Ongoing assessment is important. All plans are reviewed every six months, or sooner if needed.  Individual plans are discussed at team and supervision meetings.

How we create the right environment

We consider environmental factors that may affect people’s support needs. For instance, we may need to instal soft lighting in response to people’s sensory needs.

We respond to individual needs while maintaining a homely and comfortable atmosphere.

We also take steps to manage potentially challenging situations. For example, we may use curtains with Velcro attachments if people could pull them down when anxious.

How we manage change

Changes to routine and structure can be difficult for people with autism, and can be triggers for anxiety.

We ensure there is a regular staff team to build trusting relationships with the people they support. Staff develop a deep understanding of each person’s needs so they can identify and respond to changes, to avoid anxiety escalating.

We ensure we understand the individual triggers for each person. We include this learning in Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plans so triggers can be avoided where possible.

The PBS plan may include relaxation or self-management techniques, like having a bath or listening to music. Physical activities can help manage feelings.

Some people find it hard to express how they are feeling.  We might use anxiety flash cards to help express feelings, or numbers to identify the strength of the feeling.

Social isolation

Many of the people we support who have autism prefer to spend time alone. This can lead to social isolation.  We work with the individual and the people who know them well to understand why this is, so we can develop the right support. For example, if the cause is a lack of social and communication skills, we may practise or develop those skills.

We promote positive social interaction to try to avoid the negative aspects of isolation.

Support to deal with isolation can include working with the person to find local social groups or activities of interest.  It could also be by encouraging small talk.  However, we are careful to introduce new activities at a pace that is right for each individual.

We ensure this is balanced with the need a person may have to spend time on their own.

How we recruit the right staff

We enable people with autism to be fully involved in the recruitment of their own support team.

Each support plan has a staff profile section. This includes details of what is important to the person we are supporting. For instance, they might prefer someone fit and able, or calm and quiet.

People we support take part in recruiting staff in many ways, including joining a panel interview (with support as required), pre-recording questions, or meeting applicants informally.

Based on individual preferences, compatibility, and shared likes and interests, each person supported is allocated their own key worker.

How we train staff to support people with autism

Staff supporting people with autism all receive autism awareness training, before moving on to receive training delivered by the National Autistic Society using the SPELL framework. Training could include:

  • Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children (TEACCH) approaches, if relevant

  • Autism and sensory issues

  • Understanding stress and anxiety in autism and their impact on behaviour

  • Autism and ageing

The training that we commission is always bespoke to the person that we support and their team. This ensures that our staff can identify and address the causes of behaviour and understand how to reduce the risk of behaviours escalating.

Contact us

Head Office

Head Office
1 St. Andrew's Court Wellington Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WT View Map
T: 01844 267800 F: 01844 267049 E: info@affinitytrust.org

Central England

Central - Divisional Office
109 Boston Road, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, LE4 1AW View Map
T: 0116 236 3793 F: 0345 643 7094 E: info@affinitytrust.org

East Anglia

East Anglia - Divisional Office
Office 3, Wharfside House, Prentice Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 1RD View Map
East Anglia - Southend Office
Suite 7, 1st Floor Chalkwell Lawns, 648-656 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex, SS0 9HR View Map
T: 01702 335980 F: 08456 437291
East Anglia - Norfolk Office
Crome House, 231 St. Faiths Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 7AP View Map
T: 01603 400321 F: 01603 400771 E: infoeastanglia@affinitytrust.org
East Anglia - Lowestoft Office
The Old Police Station, 2 Regent Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1PA View Map

East England

East - Divisional Office
U18, South Fens Business Centre, Fenton Way, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, PE16 6TT View Map
T: 01354 696009 F: 08456 437521 E: infoeast@affinitytrust.org
East - Luton Office
Unit 2B Bramingham Business Park, Enterprise Way, Luton, LU3 4BU View Map
T: 01582 584575 E: infoeast@affinitytrust.org

Midlands

Midlands - Divisional Office
Wood Lane Community Centre, 157 Wood Lane, West Bromwich, B70 9PT View Map
T: 0121 553 3502 E: infomidlands@affinitytrust.org

North England

North - Divisional Office
The Gatehouse, Curtis Buildings, Berking Avenue, Leeds LS9 9LF View Map
T: 0113 468 4460 F: 0113 242 1399 E: infonorth@affinitytrust.org
North - Sheffield Office
157-163 Sheffield Road, Killamarsh, Sheffield S21 1DY View Map
T: 0114 276 4980 E: infonorth@affinitytrust.org

North West England

North West - Divisional Office
Unit 9 Parkview Court, St Paul's Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3DX View Map
T: 01274 533553 E: infoshipley@affinitytrust.org
North West - Tameside Office
The Old Courthouse, Chapel Street, Dukinfield, Cheshire SK16 4DT View Map
T: 0161 711 0577 E: infotameside@affinitytrust.org

Scotland

Scotland - Divisional Office
37 George Street, Ayr, KA8 0AH View Map
T: 01292 292922 F: 08456 437822 E: infoscotland@affinitytrust.org
Scotland - Oban Office
First Floor, Glenshellach House, 7e Glengallan Road, Oban, PA34 4HG View Map
T: 01631 571311 F: 01631 566708 / 0872 111 4616 E: infoscotland@affinitytrust.org
Scotland - Aberdeen Office
Bon Accord House, Riverside Drive, Aberdeen AB11 7SL View Map
T: 01224 595529 E: infoscotland@affinitytrust.org

South England

South - Divisional Office
Suites 53-55, Aldershot Enterprise Centre, Mandora House, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 2PW View Map
T: 01252 311188 F: 01252 311170 E: infosouth@affinitytrust.org
South - Maidenhead Office
Unit 5, Maple Court, Grove Park Industrial Estate, Waltham Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 3LW View Map
T: 01628 822359 E: infosouth@affinitytrust.org
South - Portsmouth Office
Gatcombe House, Copnor Road, Portsmouth, PO3 5EJ View Map
T: 02392 666624 F: 02392 666624 E: infosouth@affinitytrust.org
South - Oxford Office
Office 4, Hampden House, Monument Park, Chalgrove, Oxfordshire OX44 7RW View Map
T: 01865 893269 E: infosouth@affinitytrust.org

South East England

South East - Divisional Office
Suite 2+3, Henwood Pavilion, Henwood, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8DH View Map
T: 01233 665324 E: infosoutheast@affinitytrust.org
South East - East Sussex Office
Units 31-32, Castleham Business Centre East, Stirling Road, St Leonards On Sea, East Sussex, TN38 9NP View Map
T: 01424 853390 F: 0845 643 7300 E: infosoutheast@affinitytrust.org

South West England

South West - Divisional Office
Mendip Court, Bath Road, Wells, Somerset BA5 3DG View Map
T: 01749 605594 E: infosouthwest@affinitytrust.org

Bradford Positive Behaviour Support Service

Positive Behaviour Support Service
5th Floor, Margaret McMillan Tower, Princes Way, Bradford BD1 1NN View Map
T: 07584 528751 E: BradfordPBS@affinitytrust.org

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