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Supporting adults with autism – a look at our BROCS service in West Yorkshire

Barnsley Road Outreach and Community Services (or BROCS) in Wakefield, West Yorkshire is a specialist service supporting autistic people and also people with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

Our mission is to create a learning environment that meets the needs of autistic people and which empowers individuals to maximise their independence and communication.

We have fully equipped session rooms that provide an exciting, stimulating range of resources and activities. The people we support can use these resources to work on life skills, with an emphasis on communication and interaction.

A number of individuals who attend BROCS experience some form of sensory processing disorder; from vestibular (fast spinning and unable to keep still) to proprioception (proprioceptive dysfunction causes difficulty with motor planning, grading movement and postural stability making it difficult to understand where your body is in time and space). To support these individuals, we provide sessions in our art room and gym to promote fine motor skills.

We also have a dedicated sensory room which has been designed to provide stimulation in a relaxing environment.

Overload of information can also lead to behaviours that may be challenging to those around and therefore to support individuals, BROCS has a number of quiet rooms.

Our BROCS service helps to provide positive communication throughout the building – Helping individuals we support to navigate the building easily and to know what activity session will happen next. The computer on the computer room door is a simple but effective example.Communication abilities can vary widely among people with autism. At BROCS, we also use a number of augmentative and alternative communication aids to enable people to express their needs and wishes, which therefore reduce anxieties.

Our picture schedules offer visual support to aid the individual to understand what is happening throughout the day and in what sequence.

We encourage the use of Makaton; a language that uses signs and symbols to help individuals to communicate. It is extremely flexible as it can be personalised to an individual’s needs and levels of understanding. We often hold sessions for both individuals and staff members.

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