Super Support for Individuals with Autism | Charity News Blog

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Super Support for Individuals with Autism

Thanks to funding from Landau Limited as part of the All Age Autism grant programme, BCHC Charity has been able to deliver projects and support activities that aim to help individuals with Autism lead happier, healthier, and more independent lives.

BCHC Charity was successful in receiving funding for two projects; the first to provide open groups for parents and carers whose children were going through or had recently been through the diagnostic journey, and the second to support individuals aged 19+ known to the Learning Disabilities service who also had a diagnosis of Autism and would benefit from additional information and signposting early on.

A group of health professionals hosting a sessionThe children’s groups were run by a Nursery Nurse and Health Visitor at 3 venues across different Birmingham localities. 52 parents and carers were provided an opportunity to talk openly with clinicians or peers, ask questions and receive signposting all while their child(ren) were in a safe sensory environment. The funding also allowed for additional resources for the space, as well as a dedicated play worker, and occasionally attendance from relevant external speakers.

Children have started to become more confident in the group environment, exploring the toys more and more at each session, and parents have reported receiving lots of information and contacts that impact on all aspects of their life including sleep, verbal communication and support with formal documents including benefits.

Michelle Millington, Charity Project Support Manager said, “Clinicians report that parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs often feel isolated and their mental health can be low. The groups have given them an opportunity to meet other people in the same situation, making new friends and connections and sharing tips and tricks’’.

Parents attending the group gave feedback on the impact the group has had on them and their children, such as; “We’ve been able to tap into other groups that come here such as SENSE and Occupational Therapy, and we’ve been able to liaise around other topics that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get help with”, and, “We’ve been able to achieve a lot for our boys and hopefully be able to do so with this group furthermore.”

Based on feedback from the sessions, an additional 5 workshops were arranged with external organisations including Hunrosa (art of sleep), Makaton, and the Disability Employment Advisory Team. Going forward, additional open groups will continue to be offered to parents where possible and at least one further Makaton session is being provided for parents and carers.

Nithiya calls service usersFor the second project, 32 clients within the Learning Disability service were identified as needing additional signposting and were contacted by phone by a psychology assistant who carried out an assessment looking at positive behavioural support. Scores were collected around positive emotions, engagement, relationships, life meaning, and achievement. From the assessments made, it was clear that the main areas of support needed were independent living skills, sensory issues, and social support groups, which was identified as a need amongst 81%. During the project, over 34 different services were signposted to, one of which was appropriate for 25 of the clients taking part. This level of support was previously not offered but the project has highlighted the impact those early referrals can have, not only on the individual’s overall wellbeing but also their ability to engage with further routine interventions.

A drum teacher leads a music session at the All Age Autism eventThe end of the project was marked by BCHC Charity’s All Age Autism event at the Midlands Arts Centre on 27th March, where over 300 individuals attended and engaged with BCHC representatives including Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Learning Disabilities and Childrens & Families services, as well as external organisations such as Hunrosa and SENSE. The event offered another opportunity for individuals to gain support and further information whilst also being able to engage in fun, accessible activities including sensory arts and crafts, interactive music sessions, and sport and movement activities. There were also a number of quiet rooms provided, ear defenders available, and a sensory room for individuals who may need this at any time during the day. One family travelled from Warwickshire specifically for the event, and said, “We thoroughly enjoyed the event and truly appreciate the generosity and effort. [We were] Immensely impressed; keep up the good work!” 

Lynnette Oyaide of the BCHC South Yardley and Acocks Green Health Visiting Team said, "Parents voices were heard. The event truly was a gateway for parents to connect, meet needs, sign up with organisations and professionals to discuss not only their concerns, but it further provided a place for their children to experience and take part in activities catered for their needs." 

BCHC Charity would like to offer our sincere thanks to Landau Limited and the All Age Autism programme for allowing us to offer this support to BCHC service users.

The logos for the services associated with the AAA project

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