A young man aged 23 with Aspergers…
F was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome and in 2009 he moved to Options Malvern View, providing him with an independent en-suite living space, along with the use of communal kitchens and living rooms. Assigned a key worker and with the full support of a staffing team, delivering a person centered care package, F began his journey to help manage his anxieties and develop his independence.
With tendencies to become verbally and physically aggressive and posing a risk to self harm, F benefited from the multi-disciplinary team who supported his needs and helped him to develop suitable coping strategies.
After 3 years living at Malvern View, developing socially and personally to be more aware of communication, how to manage his behaviour and improved his self esteem, also enrolling on courses to further his education. A friendly and chatty young man, he worked hard on positively developing himself, with a wide variety of interests both at the service and in the local community.
At the end of 2012 a transition plan was set up for F to move into Options Bredon House, a community support service providing independent flats. Here the key aim is to support young people with further integration into the wider community and real work opportunities. Since moving to Bredon House F is continuing to enrich his independence and he is able to self manage his aggression keeping his anxieties very low. F is learning to budget his money and designs a daily activity schedule to suit his needs. F continues to strive to achieve his goals. He is keen to find paid employment and move onto more independent living arrangements in the future. F is a very talented and determined young man!
“Support from an experienced staff team has enabled her to enjoy life in a way that would not have been deemed possible before”
Rachel started at Options Barton in October 2008, as a 52 week residential student. Prior to this she had attended a local special school; however her level of challenging behaviour and complex learning needs meant that her curriculum opportunities were narrow, and that access to the community and meaningful learning opportunities were not considered possible.
After thorough assessment Rachel’s Individual Education Plan and behaviour and communications programmes were developed. She was given her own flat with en-suite bedroom which she was supported to make her own, supported by both the education and residential teams to engage in on-site activities including music and art classes.
Access to shared learning opportunities were gradual and planned in advance, using social stories and symbols, to minimise anxiety and to help Rachel to communicate her wishes. Soon Rachel was enjoying large group activities such as assemblies and themed parties, within her last year she was eating in the dining room everyday with all Post 16 students and cooking and eating lunch in the school’s on-site bistro.
Once Rachel’s engagement with on-site activities had increased, staff then introduced the idea of off-site activities using PECS and pictures to enable her to communicate about the things she enjoyed doing. Staff slowly built up the range of off-site activities available and soon she was taking part in activities such as bowling and Big Fun (indoor adult play area) with her peers. Her level of challenging behaviour reduced significantly as her ability to communicate her feelings and wishes increased.
Because of the fantastic progress Rachel made at Options Barton, it became clear that she would be able to transition to and benefit from the support and programmes provided at Options Thorpe House, in other words she was ready to make the transition to adulthood. In 2011 Rachel began her transition to Thorpe House; however moving is easier said than done for a young lady with autism who doesn’t like change.
As part of her transition period Rachel was able to visit her new flat as often as she wanted; whilst the sharing of information and transition planning was efficient and effective because both staff teams worked for Options. The timing of the move was dictated by Rachel; initially she joined in activities with her new house mates and visited her flat a few times for tea before deciding that she was ready to move. Staff knew Rachel was ready when she waved her school staff goodbye one day.
Since living at Thorpe House, Rachel has enjoyed learning lots of new skills, and the increased independence that comes with being an adult. Rachel can’t communicate verbally and so she lets her key worker know what sorts of activities she likes to do using pictures and symbols, and together with the programme coordinator they all developed a person-centred programme which aims to build on Rachel’s life skills whilst incorporating the activities she enjoys.
Rachel’s favourite activities are swimming and walking, especially on the beach, and she loves to finish a good day out with a meal at a local restaurant. Rachel has joined the Inclusive Club and enjoys taking part in a wide variety of activities with her friends, including trips to theme parks, the cinema and the seaside. These trips are busy and sometimes mean going long distances on the bus, but because Rachel feels more confident now she copes well which is a fantastic achievement. Rachel continues to try lots of new activities; having a space of her own, a person-centred programme and support from an experienced staff team has enabled her to enjoy life in a way that would not have been deemed possible before.