As part of our commitment to providing the very best support for autistic people, we have created the Voyage Care autism professionals group. The group comprises of autism experts from across the company who proactively support their colleagues to continually develop.
What are the goals of the autism professionals group?
The group aims to enable inspirational outcomes for autistic people by:
- Developing enhanced partnerships with families, carers and professionals
- Sharing best practice and supporting their colleagues
- Engaging autistic people and encouraging them to contribute to their wider communities
- Working alongside Voyage Care’s specialist services to achieve the National Autistic Society’s Autism Accreditation
How will the autism professionals group achieve their goals?
The group will engage with both staff and autistic people we support, including:
- Developing planned activities for autistic people to develop their skills and experience across a range of increasingly challenging situations
- Identifying relevant case studies to demonstrate outcomes and enhance regulatory ratings
- Supporting continuous professional development for staff to ensure good working knowledge of the latest strategies, methods and approaches that provide positive outcomes for autistic people
- Gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback and data to ensure consistent and high quality support is tailored to each autistic person
- Supporting the operations team to collate evidence of the outcomes of our support for autistic people
Our autism experts
Shaji Rajamony (Raj), Autism Specialism Implementer
In 2009, Raj began his role as an autism specialist services manager for two challenging residential services. He has been working for the National Autistic Society since 2010 as an autism accreditation team coordinator (external moderator).
Raj holds a postgraduate qualification in autism / Asperger’s from Sheffield Hallam University. He is passionate about autism, has developed local partnerships and been involved in a range of projects for autistic people in care homes. He is instrumental in making the lives of autistic people meaningful by positive risk-taking, which yielded an Outstanding CQC rating for the Responsive category for Redcliffe House.
Karina Johnson, Quality Development Manager
Karina is a successful manager and leader, with a nursing
background (RNMH) and 32 years NHS experience, working primarily in the field of complex learning disability services, and in Mental Health/Neuropsychiatry (including ABI). Karina has used her knowledge and experience to support the development of the autism specialism at Voyage Care.
Karina has led the implementation of the autism action plan, working closely with Shelley Gray and Raj to develop the autism policy and procedure and the necessary collateral to support the provision of outstanding support to autistic people.
Shelley Gray, Quality Control Manager
Shelley has many years of experience working within community settings with a range of people of all ages and abilities. She previously managed a successful community-based service and supported new business ventures for Voyage Care. Since moving to the Quality Development team, Shelley has been an integral part of developing the company's autism specialism. She is passionate that this is a positive step for all autistic people being supported by Voyage Care.
Gail Withington, Service Manager of BROCS and Acorns Autism Community Support
Gail manages Voyage Care’s BROCS and Acorns Autism Community Support – an NAS autism accredited Day Centre providing support to autistic people and challenging behaviour. She has worked in social care for over 20 years, supporting supported people with a wide range of disabilities as well as autism.
She is also part of the Reviewing Team for the National Autistic Society. This involves carrying out peer reviews around the country, visiting other services and providers, conducting observations and writing reports. This work enables her to see and share current practice and expertise, while enhancing her knowledge about positive outcomes for autistic people.
Gail is committed, driven and enthusiastic about working with autistic people, their advocates and other professionals to help achieve the best possible outcomes. She believes equality does not necessarily mean treating everyone in the same way – sometimes alternative methods of support have to be found in order to achieve equality and the focus should be on the outcomes.
Micheala Blanche, Risk & Governance Manager
Micheala has held a number of positions within the health and social care sector in local authority, charity and private organisations.
Micheala is very passionate about autism and being the mother of an autistic person is able to bring real life experience to the professional team. Micheala was instrumental in establishing the unique relationship with The National Autistic Society and will continue to ensure that the services working towards accreditation receive recognition and support throughout the implementation of the programme.
Micheala is also passionate about building good networks that provide the best and most well-informed autism support within Voyage Care’s services. Actively seeking opportunities to work closely within the autism communities and other local autism groups will be a priority.
Rosie Burke, Marketing Team Leader
Rosie leads our marketing team, her role on the autism professionals group is to develop effective marketing and communications for the people we support, their families and people who are looking for support.
She's passionate about making information accessible for all people.
Before moving into marketing, Rosie was a teacher and provided support for adults with learning disabilities to access education. She has worked with a number of autistic children and adults.
Other members include Christine Watson Adams, Robert Brady and Darcie Alleyne.