Kelly's inspired by our autism specialism

Kelly Barnard, service manager at Derwent Cottage in Scarborough, supports one autistic person with extremely complex needs. After implementing some of our new autism-specific procedures, she is already seeing an improvement in their quality of life.

Paula has very limited communication abilities, is non-verbal and exhibits challenging behaviours as a way of expressing herself when frustrated, angry or upset. When spending time in her home, she remained in the dining room for much of the day as she never wanted to access the communal lounge.

After conducting an autism-specific environmental assessment, Kelly adapted the lounge area and Paula now independently chooses to spend time in the room.

As Paula communicates mainly through objects of reference, Kelly’s team is also starting to use her favourite objects as prompts to encourage her to try new activities and environments and reduce any anxiety.

Kelly said: “I have reassessed Paula using the tools and have thought of so many new methods of communication we can use to enhance and enable her control over her own life, understanding, activities and daily routine.

“I feel so inspired by the new guidelines, which break things down into processes and are perfect for Paula. My staff team are completely on board with implementing things on a gradual basis so as not to overwhelm her.”

Head of Quality, Amanda Griffiths, said: “I am very proud of the work that our Quality Development team have undertaken to introduce a really robust and evidence-based autism specialism, and the level of engagement from our managers and staff. Kelly and her team are real ambassadors for everything we are seeking to achieve in the delivery of the very best person-centred care for the most important people – those we support in our homes and services.”

Some information has been changed for confidentiality purposes.