We have been providing successful outcomes to men and women living with Autism for over a decade. We achieve this by listening to you!

You will work with our skilled therapeutic and staff team to help you understand how your autism affects you, learn how to manage your anxieties and to develop communication and independent living skills.

Staff will help you to complete the Spectrum Star (an Outcome Measurement Tool for people living with Autism).  The star will identify your abilities and areas where you require additional support.

Autism is a difference in ability; we help people to learn how to use that difference to the best of their ability.

Tiago Pinto, Head of Therapies, Brookdale Care.

From the completed star, your care team will develop a person centred support plan that will help you to overcome your difficulties, develop strategies to manage your anxieties and help you to develop independent living skills.

The plan will ensure your needs are met and will provide activities that will motivate you to succeed your goals.  Your plan will include your personal timetable, 1:1 and group therapy sessions and a range of social activities within the home and local community.

You need to consider the person, not the label when working with people

Tiago Pinto, Head of Therapies.

Our flexible care pathway enables you to become more independent as your abilities and skills improve, offering safe discharge routes and a range of residential care options.

Our services provide an autism friendly environment; with trained staff and robust support systems which means we can provide a successful home to people who have previously been failed by other placements.

Our range of support options means we can support you if you are experiencing mental health difficulties; have learning disabilities or physical health needs.

Autism – Frequently asked Question and Answers

1. How to support someone with autism to be more independent

People living with Autism need a structured and supportive environment where they feel safe to develop new skills.
If the individual also has a Learning Disability this will also affect their ability to learn new skills.
People with Autism may find it difficult to develop daily living skills such as personal care, shopping, budgeting, cooking, reading and writing, etc…  People living with Autism often have a ‘spiky’ presentation of skills/deficits, e.g. just because the person is verbal – do not presume that they can understand everything or that they do not require support in other areas.

New activities need to be explained in a way that a person with Autism is able to understand.  You can use Augmented Communication and Social Stories to help break down an activity to its component parts; these can then be referred to as needed.  It is known that people with Autism often struggle to transfer a skill learnt to a new environment, so you must repeat the skill in new situations.

It is important to find areas in which a person with Autism has strengths or particular interests and use these to engage the individual to trying new activities, to improve their quality of life and promote social inclusion. It helps them to develop a positive self-esteem and confidence to manage their life with more independence.

2. Can women have autism?

Girls and women can have Autism.  Females with Autism are often undiagnosed due to their ‘unusual’ and non-typical Autism presentation.  Some may have been misdiagnosed with Personality Disorder, Eating Disorder or Bi Polar Disorder.  Some individuals will have a dual diagnosis of 2 or more conditions.

Females living with Autism need specific support on understanding their body (especially during puberty and periods), to develop strategies to manage their self care and learn how to protect themselves from being vulnerable in society.

People living with Autism need support to overcome their anxieties and to develop independent living and communication skills so that they can fulfil their potential.

3. How to manage severe challenging behaviours

Challenging behaviour (also known as behaviours which challenge services) is defined as “culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit or deny access to the use of ordinary community facilities”.

Challenging behaviour can be looked at as a way of communication. It tells us that something is not working. Some behaviours are adapted by individuals to manage the situations that are overwhelming to them. Some such adapted behaviours are screaming/ shouting, self-harm, hitting or kicking out. One may see that after the challenging behaviour the individual becomes calm.

The appropriate way to address the challenging behaviour is by identifying the function of the behaviour. Once the function is analysed, a person centred strategy can be devised to manage and redirect such behaviours.

A negative behaviour which is unhelpful / inappropriate can be replaced by adapting more helpful strategies. For e.g. an individual seeking negative attention when bored can be supported to devise a good time-table and given intentional positive attention when s/he is engaged in appropriate way and ignored when behaves inappropriately. Parents/ care givers can approach qualified professionals when they have individuals with challenging behaviours. A thorough functional assessment is helpful to devise a person centred plan for management of such behaviours.

How to manage Challenging Behaviour in a person living with Autism

  • Try to find out what is the cause – what triggered the behaviour?
  • What is the person trying to tell you?
  • Find out what helps the person with Autism to feel better?
  • Engage the individual with activities that are meaningful (to them).
  • Be consistent in your actions
  • Do not react with anger
  • Continue to show that you care
  • Contact support groups and social services for support and guidance.

4. Post 18 options for someone living with Autism 

First be aware that this is a difficult period of change for all young people.  People who have Autism may be leaving their school and their friends and will find this time very challenging and confusing.

The school should have considered the individuals transitional needs.  However adult services are sometimes un-prepared or leave things too late.

There are a variety of considerations when leaving residential school:

  • Continue with education – College / university?
  • Live at the parental home or in the community – where?
  • Get a job – how/where?
  • Finding new friends / losing contact with old friends

Individuals can benefit from an assessment of needs, capacity and support requirements.  You can then identify the best way to meet these needs and promoting independence.

It’s always important to consider what the person with Autism wants to do now and in the future.  How can they be supported to achieve their goals, what skills do they need to develop, etc.

5.  Residential/supported living/school placement is breaking down

Things to consider when a placement is breaking down:

  • The person facing placement breakdown is often distressed and upset if not scared – feeling rejected
  • The person may need independent support (contact an advocate)
  • Identify why the placement is no longer able to meet their needs – what has changed / why?
  • Temporary (respite) arrangement may be necessary to diffuse the tension and distress
  • This may provide an opportunity for a review and re-assessment of the persons needs
  • If the placement has ‘served notice’ (a date has been given for when the individual needs to leave the service), it is important that social workers and families more quickly to identify a suitable placement that is able to meet their needs (not just have a free bed!).
  • A transition plan needs to be designed that acknowledges the distressed presentation of the individual and the short time frame before admission.

6. Autistic son is trouble with the police

People living with Autism often like to follow strict rules and so are more often the victims of crime rather than the perpetrator.

Although, sometimes they come to the attention/have ‘trouble’ with the police due to:

  • Anxious or odd behaviour in the community
  • ‘Challenging behaviour’ or a risk of harm to self or others when their anxieties have escalated
  • Special interests which are perceived to be inappropriate
  • Unusual or Inappropriate use of language or body language
  • Inappropriate personal boundaries – especially online
  • Difficulty in processing information at normal speed may mean that someone with autism is labelled as being uncooperative

An Autism Alert card can be very helpful in all situations but especially if your son or daughter comes into contact with the police.  The Autism Alert card states their name, the fact they have autism (with some Autism facts) and also has key contacts on who the police should call.

If they are interviewed it is important that an Appropriate Adult is present and if they require a solicitor it is essential that the solicitor is experienced in Autism and the law.