Jenny is a person we support at BROCS, our specialist autism day centre in Wakefield. BROCS is a National Autistic Society (NAS) Accredited service, which currently holds Advanced status! This recognises their dedication to improving the lives of people with autism and the opportunities they create for them.
Jenny has been attending BROCS since 2006. She began visiting us twice a week, but after the success of her support, Jenny now attends BROCS every day from Monday to Friday!
Jenny has autism and a severe learning disability, which often leads to her displaying challenging behaviours. The amazing team at BROCS have changed Jenny’s life for the better, encouraging her independence and overall happiness.
Jenny now achieves things daily that her mum never thought would be possible for her, like going out into the community, visiting restaurant and shops!
Understanding Jenny’s needs
When Jenny first began visiting us, she presented some challenging behaviours and generally declined her sessions. She would lay on the floor of entrance areas and other doorways in the building for hours at a time.
While she was experiencing these behaviours, she would often use her hands to bang on the floors, doors, radiators, and walls, which would disrupt the other people we support.
Her team tried to calm her behaviours, but Jenny would often nip, scratch and kick out at anyone going near her. This presented wider safety issues and could also trigger sensory overload for individuals with noise sensitivity in the service – heightening their anxiety. These challenges meant Jenny’s opportunities were limited and accessing the local community wasn’t a possibility.
The team at BROCS began to recognise the sense of security Jenny felt in the areas she chose to lay down in. They also understood Jenny struggled when her routine was changed, and liked feelings of consistency and predictability.
Our team began working closely with Jenny’s family to learn about her interests. This is when they discovered she loves looking at family photos! Jenny’s mum happily provided us with some pictures and we worked this into Jenny’s daily routine at the centre.
Using old photographs of Jenny, her team were able to find other hobbies of hers, and quickly developed a daily routine of activities that Jenny would enjoy, including using the family photographs in a visual activity!
We allocated a member of our team – who had a good relationship with Jenny – as a link between her and her family. This ensured we could update Jenny’s family with her amazing progress! It also ensured Jenny felt comfortable with the team around her, significantly reducing her challenging behaviours.
Supporting Jenny to achieve her potential
After a while, Jenny began to feel confident and safe in her new routine, focusing on the activities she enjoyed. Over time, her behaviour improved, and she was able to start accessing all the session rooms at BROCS. Now, she’s also able to access the community!
Supporting Jenny to access all the opportunities available to her was planned slowly to ensure she wasn’t overwhelmed. When Jenny would present challenging behaviours, we would use her family photographs to make her feel calm, and over time, Jenny began to move away from the doors. She began to understand the cues that were set for her and what behaviour was expected, which helped in reducing these challenging behaviours.
To help Jenny out into the community, we started with slow walks around our wooded grounds, using visual cues to show Jenny where she would be going and the sequence of what she would do. This made her feel safe and empowered her with confidence!
During the pandemic, BROCS knew the safety of the people we support was paramount. The team reduced their capacity to allow for safe social distancing. But in 2020, the team had a positive case and had to close the specialist autism day centre for two weeks. This closure created a difficult situation for Jenny’s family as they struggled to manage her challenging behaviours.
We understood this was a very difficult time and that Jenny’s family needed our support. So, we assigned Jenny’s key worker and another support worker who knew her well to support her in the community during the closure of BROCS. This was such a success that Jenny’s family nominated us for the Yorkshire Big Thank You Award, which recognises the heroic efforts of key workers, neighbours, families and friends during COVID!
A new lease of life with BROCS
Since Jenny first joined BROCS, she’s received specialist support from a compassionate and dedicated team. She’s overcome her challenges and is now achieving things daily that her mum never thought was possible!
Where she once couldn’t access the community, Jenny’s now living an active lifestyle, full of opportunities! Jenny enjoys going swimming, eating in local pubs and restaurants, and loves going on shopping trips! She travels using public transport, which was not a possibility for her before attending specialist autism day centre BROCS. We love watching Jenny flourish more and more every day!
Learn more about our specialist autism support
To find out more about how we support people with autism to live fulfilling lives, visit our dedicated webpage! Ready to make an enquiry? Fill in our quick form and our friendly team will be in touch!