Durlands Road achieves Aspiring status from the National Autistic Society!

We’re delighted to announce that our Autism specialist service, Durlands Road, has achieved Aspiring status from the National Autistic Society (NAS)!

We spoke to Service Manager, Terri Ashcroft, to learn more about their journey and what the status means to the Durlands Road team.            

Can you take us through your Aspiring status journey?

I started working at Durlands in 2018. At the time, there were two autistic people living at the service. The staff team required support to understand what Autism was, what it meant to the people we support, how we adapt the support we provide and how we ensure individual needs are met. As a result, we implemented autism training for every member of the Durlands.

The staff team are extremely enthusiastic about the support they provide and are well-equipped to meet the needs of the people we support, and have been since day one of their training and introduction program.

We were awarded the NAS Aspiring status due to the care and support we provide to two people. One of the individuals transitioned from Specialist Behavioural Support Services (SBSS) to Durlands. Since moving, the support and knowledge of our team has enabled the individual to flourish and achieve so much in just seven months.

The other person we support needs sensory stimulation. We are determined to discover new care methods to support this person. As part of this, our team started training with the Community Learning Disability team to develop their skills and share best practice.

Off the back of this training, we were able to develop a sensory diet for the person we support, create a list of sensory activities personalised to their needs and increase their support hours, so they can participate in outdoor activities supported by two staff every day. We are still working with this individual to adapt care and support, so it continues to meet all of his needs.

This showcases that the team at Durlands Road is constantly learning and taking training opportunities to develops and build on their skills so they can provide the best possible support. They always put the needs of the people we support first and this was something that  stood out to the inspector who commented that = ‘The staff at Durlands Road consistently act as advocates for the autistic people they support.’

How did the team, and yourself feel when the NAS assessment was taking place?

Everyone was at ease, we had a plan for the day, so everyone knew what was going on at any given time. The assessors blended into Durlands seamlessly, it was as if they weren’t even there! The team members involved were well-prepared as they’d been briefed ahead of time on the planned activities they would be participating in and who they would be supporting. The knowledge the team have on autism and how to best support autistic people meant everyone was confident and relaxed during the assessment.

How did you ensure the people we support were comfortable with the assessment taking place?

One of the people we support can verbally communicate and uses Makaton.  We explained the assessment process to him and in the way he prefers and helped him understand and what the NAS status would mean for Durlands Road and the support we deliver.  Before the day, he had prepared a questionnaire by himself on his iPad to help him process the information by asking questions to help him feel comfortable.

The people we support were reminded a week before the assessment and the day before the assessors were due. When the assessors arrived, they introduced themselves to the people we support and reassured them they would be focussing on the staff team and how they support them as individuals.

How did the team respond to the assessor’s feedback?

The team were extremely proud of themselves and pleased with the comments from the examiners. We received some development comments, which is valuable in supporting us to strengthen the service and strive towards full accreditation. The team’s attitude and determination to achieve a high status is just outstanding. They truly are advocates for the people we support, which is wonderful to witness and be a part of.

What’s next for Durlands Road?

Taking on board the feedback from the assessors, and their perspective on how we work as a team to provide support at Durlands, was eye-opening. It was good to see that everything we have put in place is relevant for the people we support.

We will continue to provide high-quality care and support to individuals while encouraging them to try new activities and reach their goals. We are confident that in the near future, we will achieve accredited status as a reflection of the team’s hard work and dedication.

Find out more 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can support you, a loved one, or a client to live their best lives, complete our quick and easy enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch!

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