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Ben is one of around 700,000 people in the UK to have a diagnosis of Autism. Autistic people can have difficulty understanding new or complex information, learning new skills, coping independently and expressing their wants needs and wishes. But as Ben demonstrates, this doesn’t mean you can’t make positive changes towards increased independence around use of public travel.

When Ben first joined the Rotherham Autism Hub he experienced high levels of anxiety around use of public travel, Ben struggled with queuing and waiting, and being surrounded by lots of people talking at each other, there was a clear sensory overload and little control to the organisation and routine of this activity. Through staff observation and vigilance a number of potential triggers and functions were identified.

Intervention- what support was put in place for Ben to achieve his goal.

From the information gathered by parents and Ben at home and from within service, the team began to introduce coping strategies to help support Ben through potential barriers. The team began by ensuring Ben had a purpose to his travel and that this was clearly communicated to Ben so he could understand the end goal of his journey. Staff prepared his journeys and communicated this via written lists, ensuring that the transition time from A to B was minimal to prevent a build up of anxiety. Bus travel apps were a great tool to use in the travel planning to and from an activity.

Patience, persistence and communication is key – Ben never gave in. Staff shared positive praise and encouragement at every known potential hurdle / barrier, letting Ben know that ‘its okay’ if he was feeling overwhelmed as each day he made an achievement which not only increased his confidence but empowered the team to continue pushing Ben to reach his goals. Clear step by step support plans were created with Ben to ensure consistency across the staff team – this enabled Ben to become familiar with short journeys and slowly increase his confidence around use of Public travel at his own pace.

Staff supporting Ben would take his written timetable out on session, as a visual aid, should he feel unsure or need reassurance and redirection. They would take refreshments for the journey, Ben is engaged in conversation around fun facts about the activity / destination they were travelling to. All of these were key indicators to Ben increasing his confidence and independence.

“I was reading his home assessment yesterday and I couldn’t believe it was the same person I now support, he loves being out and about and is hardly ever in the hub, he accesses the train to Leeds and he even enjoys a 1hr and 15minute bus ride to Barnsley for the day. He’s maintained a friendship which is parents never thought they would see. He’s also gained confidence to verbally tell staff he’s had enough instead of expressing this through behaviours as he did in the past, he’s just making such great progress, his days are so busy!” a member of staff at the Rotherham Autism Hub

How did this person achieve their goal through the Rotherham Autism Hub?

Autism East Midlands are a service user led organisation; this means the person is at the centre of all discussions from initial visit and home assessment to the details that go into their Positive Behaviour Support plan – this document tells us what a person likes, what their interests are, what’s important to and for them in terms of how they wish to be supported by us, to meet their needs and future outcomes. This gives visibility of a person’s strengths that can be built on and also allows us to understand where people may need additional support.

People are offered choice of activity and session, people are supported to make informed choices in line with their likes and preferences that promote social inclusion into the community, positive health and wellbeing, increased confidence, independence and develop social skills.

Why choose the Rotherham Autism Hub?

Rotherham Autism Hub is not your traditional Day service, our bespoke packages are tailored to a persons preferences, this includes where a person wishes to be supported from, and this can be their home, the service, a work placement or respite. We offer a choice in support times from Early morning, Afternoon, Evenings; our service operates from 8am – 8pm Mondays – Sunday. People have the choice of flexibility in hours; this could be from 3 hours per week to 50+. They have the choice of sessions and activities.

We’re an Autism Specific organisation who also provides support for other diagnosis along side Autism such as mental health, learning disabilities and Epilepsy. We offer support across the full autistic spectrum, from higher functioning individuals working towards employment, people with complex needs who may need that additional support and individuals who can display behaviours that may challenge.
We focus on what a person CAN do rather than what they can’t.