Autism is a lifelong developmental disability, which affects how people communicate and interact with the world around them. The prevalence of autism in the UK at present is currently more than 1 in 100 people and has a higher prevalence in males than to females, National Autistic Society (2021). As the statement provided above by the late Donna Williams, who herself had a diagnosis of autism, explains that autism can affect people in very different ways and have a differing impact on the people we support.
At SJOG we ensure that we support each person with a diagnosis of autism with a unique person-centred approach focusing on meaningful outcomes and quality of life.
SJOG has developed its autism practice to recognise and understand the needs of the people we support in services and in doing so we have aligned our policies and procedures, assessment framework and ongoing service development in line with good practice framework from the National Autistic Society. As a charity, we also aim to achieve accreditation from the National Autistic Society in 2021.
My son Jamie.
Jamie was born healthy in 1993; a much-loved son and big brother to Daniel.
Jamie was diagnosed with severe autism when he was 2 ½. Shock and disbelief set in.
Research is something I am very passionate about, however the future looked bleak. Jamie was assessed many times and the words, ‘non-verbal’ and ‘no hope were received from many health professionals.
Jamie attended many autism specialist schools. The outcome was always the same – “we can’t provide for Jamie’s complex needs.” Jamie also attended a residential school/college with the same scenario – “he’s too complex for us.”
Many placements followed and eventually SJOG’s Sandown Road was put forward by Health & Social Care. On the first visit to Sandown I met the team; they were friendly and very knowledgeable, and I felt a glimmer of hope.
Many visits later Jamie started living in this warm, welcoming home in Billingham.
There has been many challenges along the way but the staff have gone above and beyond my expectations to care and nurture my beloved son.
Jamie’s personal care, medical needs and leisure needs continue to be addressed with enthusiasm, even at times when it must have been very challenging. Jamie still has his challenges, however his laugh and his sense of humour is second to none. Jamie trusts the staff and from a mum’s perspective this is the best outcome I could have wished for.
Jamie is now 27 years old and we visit him regularly. To see him thrive is the best outcome for an amazing young man. My Jamie moving forward in a safe, caring homely environment is the best outcome for Jamie and our family.
Thanks to Carly and all her team, and special thanks to Stuart, Kevin and Donna.
SJOG has ensured that the four key themes under NAS accreditation have shaped how we work and how we aim to develop autism specialist services in the future.
NAS 1 - Commitment and Consultation
SJOG is committed to ensuring all autism practice is in line with the 15 Priority Challenges for Actions identified in the update: Think Autism, Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives: the strategy for adult with Autism in England 2014.
SJOG ensures that the views, preferences, interests and feedback from autistic people and their families/advocates are considered in the development of our practice.
NAS 2 - Understanding the Autistic Person
SJOG’s Autism Practice Model enables a robust person-centred approach to supporting the autistic person across the 7 key areas identified within an autism diagnosis. The SJOG learning and development pathway then endorses the development of knowledge and understanding within the teams in our services.
All support planning is developed to promote quality of life outcomes and tailored support to the autistic person. We ensure that we adapt and align our practice with the changing needs of the people we support through effective and regularly review of quality outcomes and autism profiles.
NAS 3 - Enabling the Autistic Person
SJOG ensures that tailored support is relevant to the needs of the individual with a focus on positive outcomes and continuous learning.
Understanding a person’s autism profile is a key part of how we develop our support planning to ensure enablement in all areas of their lives. The delivery of focused support is reflective of assessed need and the aspirations of the people we support.
NAS 4 - Positive Outcomes for the Autistic Person
At SJOG we ensure that all people we support have the same opportunities in life as anyone else. We utilise proactive and personalised risk management to reduce restriction and promote inclusion.
We promote a ‘can do’ approach with all we do and celebrate positive outcomes and achievements for the people we support. Our teams understand that positive wellbeing and active support are key to good quality of life.
SJOG’s Autism Practice Model has been developed in line with the National Autistic Society’s self-assessment tool, NAS, (2021) and with the knowledge and skills of current autism practitioners within the charity.
The autism practice model highlights specific areas of assessment that will inform a clinically relevant support plan in line with the diagnosis and presentation of the person, and provides a rating scale for each autism domain that provides a measurable baseline for on-going assessment and analysis.
SJOG Fact Sheets
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