[Narrator] Many people with Autism are dependent
upon the social care workforce for the support to live a fulfilling life, but they
have a wide range of needs. So what are the key issues to consider when
working with people with Autism? This film follows two professionals; Dominic Cole is a
care worker at St. Mark’s Day Services in North London, and Oxfordshire social worker Emma Boswell works with
teenagers in transition to adult services. Emma is on a statutory visit to see 17 year old
Dan who has severe learning disabilities. -Do you feel better now? [Narrator]Dan is living at The Squirrels Residential
Home, and Emma has come to monitor his progress. -Are you going to show me what you do? I think
you like the activity ball don’t you? -We want to be seeing that he is well stimulated,
we want to see that he’s happy; we want to make sure that he is healthy;
we want to make sure he is being better challenged and prepared for adulthood. -It will be a while since I have seen you,
isn’t it? -It’s about being aware of when they get anxious,
I do keep eye contact with him, but if I think he’s finding it a little stressful
then I will leave. [Narrator] Dan has been here for almost a year
and in that time his communication skills have improved. Usually you would have to guess if he was in pain,
you would have to guess if he was unwell; and the way you would guess what was going on with
Daniel was through his behaviours. -How are you feeling today, can you show me? So what this placement has been able to do is to
use be able to use pictures and ways that he understands, so now he has actually managed to communicate through
symbols what he has wanted. -Show me please, I understand a good … you are happy.
-You are happy, well done. -Oh you are happy that’s good. Today is a good day, now I can have exactly the
same approach, or slightly adapt it, and he won’t want anything to do with me;
you know it’s totally on his terms. So I am guided by the staff,
I am guided by how Dan is on the day. -Can I come up as well?
-Yes please. -Okay, let’s go and have a cup of tea then. At St. Mark’s Dominic works one-to-one with
Autistic adults who have challenging behaviours and complex learning needs. Today he is working
with Michael developing his communication skills. -First of all shall we get a cup of tea first?
-Oh yeah, yeah. -So do you want to help me make it?
-Oh yeah. -Okay then, let’s make a cup of tea. -We don’t normally go straight into a session;
we normally give five minutes just for them to become accustomed to the new environment,
to settle in and to feel at ease, just to have like five minutes relaxation in between
each new environment can really help reduce anxiety. -Excellent, well done.
-You alright? -Yeah I am very good.
-Play football with me later? -Oh what do you have to be? You have be very…
-Calm. -Very calm. But when we have our cup of tea, after
our tea we are going to go and do plan of the day, yeah, look in your folder? Okay? But we are going
to have tea first. [Narrator]Dominic’s first priority is giving Michael
a structure to his day. -So today is Tuesday, and where are you? We are at the…?
-Quality time. -We are having quality time now,
but where are we? We are at the…? -Day Centre
-And what do you do in the quality time? -Make the tea
-Tea, and who did you make tea for? -Me
-And me. Thank you very much for doing that. -After our tea do you know what we are going to do?
-Free dance again? -Free dance, and we call it dance and…?
-Movement. -Movement, excellent. Do you want to find the… I think structure is very important for people with
autism because predictability can actually make someone feel safer and secure, and if they are not sure what
the future holds sometimes anxieties can arise. -No not this one, this is for Friday,
so we will put it on Tuesday. -Straight from the beginning of the day students
will come in and they will be aware of exactly what activities they will do
that particular day. So if it’s not raining we can play football.
But if it rains what shall we do? -Watch a film.
-Watch a film, okay. Some individuals might take a lot longer for them
to process what I have said, so when you use language it’s to be kept quite short;
simple words, short sentences, or use visual prompts to actually get your message across. -And what’s he got on his hands? What has he got on his hands?
-Scarf. -On his hands?
-Gloves. -Gloves, so Michael, the gloves keep his hands?
-Warm. -Warm. or vice versa, if they are actually trying to
communicate something to you, you need lots of patience. -Okay, do did you have fun?
-What at? -Did you have fun today?
-What’s the man’s name? -Did you have fun watching the…
-No the man! -Which man?
-In the film. On that… -oh man on the video, oh okay.
-No [unclear] all morning, and [unclear] – Yeah, well done Michael, that’s excellent.
– Not finished that yet. -Okay. [Narrator] Emphasising the positives is
another key technique. Encouraging Michael, giving him lots of praise,
makes him feel very good about himself. It kind of gives him a lot of self-belief and he
is willing to kind of try out different things. And also you know if something doesn’t always
go right, or you find something a bit difficult we will probably adapt it a little bit to make it a
little bit easier, so he always feels good about himself. And then try and progress with that and try and
get him to do something which is a little bit more difficult which takes a bit more concentration. -Okay, now what other face?
Shall I do it like this? What am I now?
-I did it. -Okay, you are excellent, well done Michael we are
doing really well. So if I am sad… It’s extremely important to kind of empathise with
our students, and to try and see how they view the world from their perspective. A lot of common
sort of anxieties we have amongst our students it the fact that they find it difficult to communicate
their needs, or to communicate what they actually want. The actual challenge is not just the behaviour,
its understanding why they are doing the behaviour; because a particular challenging behaviour is
still a way of them communicating something which they are upset about. So the fact that they are communicating is still
kind of a positive thing. [Narrator] Dominic is also very aware that many of
his students find noisy or distracting environments distressing. It’s quite good to kind of use low arousal
methods so they are able to gain more concentration or more awareness of what’s going on in that
particular environment. One person talking to a particular individual at a time, not having too
many voices, can help the student to actually understand what is expected of them, or to understand
what is being said. We have also adapted like session rooms, so they don’t have too much clutter or too much
information, and they are kept very tidy at all times. -What colour starts with y? -Where’s your TV?
-DVD player broke didn’t it? -Did it? So when are you getting a new one? [Narrator]Back at the Squirrels Emma’s priority is
to ensure that as an autistic person Dan is provided with the appropriate services as he makes the
transition to adulthood, and that links are made with all the key people involved in his care
including support worker Paul. -Ultimately there is a settling down period, and
there are challenges faced by residential staff so it’s about listening to what they have to say,
and thinking about how you best know that child, to open up the conversation a little bit more. – Well I am wondering what else is in Dan that we
don’t know that’s there. Because the parents are always very clear to advocate that he was capable of doing
so much than what was happening. -Yeah his level of understanding is really high.
He knows exactly what you are saying to him and what you are asking off him It’s about taking the knowledge that you know and
then assessing what they’ve already done, and then challenging the place on how they are going to
further develop it. – Hello my darling, I have come to visit. Well actually the most key people of course is the parents;
so you are keeping them up to date, you are asking them what they felt about what comments people have made,
is there other ways that you think things could have been done better, what are their hopes and
future desires for their children. Transition planning needs to start early and be
led by both the young people and their families so that real choices and opportunities for their
future are delivered whilst recognising that it is an anxious time and the decisions
need to be very carefully considered to guarantee that the choices made are the right ones. It’s about keeping their spirits up; that
actually this is the best thing as far as Dan is concerned into adulthood. It is progressive,
it is moving him forward. -Hello mum.
-I know, mum that’s nice. Did you say hello to me. [Makes sound] You can try your best and have a good honest and
open relationship with the parents, and you have to feel that you can challenge in an
appropriate way because ultimately you are the advocate, as the social worker, but you are looking at
it from a different perspective. —I will see you soon.
-You will see mum another day. -Good boy, good boy.