Enabling adults with autism
What is autism?
As we continue to celebrate Autism Awareness Month, here at Zetetick we want to enable some tips and considerations for those living with autism and the ones supporting them. According to the National Autistic Society, the autism spectrum disorder is ‘a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.’
Autism Spectrum Disorder varies in how it affects everyone, enabling a range of possible characteristics, and impacts on each individual. As a result, those living with autism may require varying levels of support, so an individualised care plan is essential for ensuring all their needs are met. When considering the care, person-centred conversations that explore their strengths and differences enable those with autism to be empowered to make informed decisions regarding their care and support.
The importance of a positive home environment living with autism
Many autistic adults have sensory sensitivities, as processing everyday sensory information can be challenging and can often be a result of their senses being either over-or under-sensitive or both. Sensory sensitivities to taste, smell, light, colour, or noise can be the cause of anxiety or physical pain. Therefore, reviewing and considering residential placement is essential to ensure the perfect fit. Every individual has the right to feel comfortable and safe within their own home, and here at Zetetick, we channel this as we match properties to the individual.
Important things to consider that may cause adults with autism to become distressed:
- An individual’s social or physical environment (including sensory sensitivities)
- A mental or physical health problem
- Changes to routine or circumstances
- Difficulties in communication
Engagement with sports, hobbies, and interests
As autism can often be considered a ‘hidden’ disability, it can be incredibly isolating when left unsupported. The National Autistic Society has observed that “at least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to lack of support.” As a result, it is crucial for those living with autism to be supported to follow the interests that enable them to feel enriched.
Having the opportunity and support to pursue their interests is essential as they are core to their happiness and wellbeing. Like everyone, autistic people gain contentment by engaging in sports, special interests, or hobbies. Often, they enable those with autism to feel empowered and immersed within their interests. Therefore, allowing them to defy many mental health conditions such as low mood, anxiety, and depression that can be heightened due to autism-related isolation.
Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate is a prime example of someone living with Asperger’s syndrome who became the first British Swimmer to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games with an intellectual impairment. Applegate claimed victory in the S14 200m freestyle at the 2012 Games in London, and now has a staggering 7 Paralympic medals. Within her interviews Applegate discusses how her and her coach plan a specific training routine to meet her needs.
“I really struggle to cope with people socially. I don’t like any changes and trying to concentrate on more than one this is so difficult, but my coach is very understanding. We have a timetable for everything, so I have a good routine. We make plans to keep calm and we always have a backup plan, so I feel safe” – Jessica-Jane Applegate, 2013.
The importance of good support services when living with autism
“Social workers can make a difference to autistic adults by working with and alongside them. Good social work can enable autistic adults to get the assistance they need to manage how autism affects them.” – Godfred Boahen, British Association of Social Workers.
Here are some tips for supporting those with autism:
- Make sure to allow sufficient time to develop communication and build relationships that support the person to make decisions and process information.
- Sustain continuity wherever possible.
- Work with the individual to create a personalised plan, ensuring that their strengths, wishes, and needs are met. Also ensuring to consider and factor in any sensory differences.
- Ensure to find out how the person prefers to refer to their autism.
How we help here at Zetetick
Here at Zetetick, we seek to increase awareness of autism, enabling others to consider the impact autism has on individuals’ daily lives. Increased understanding and awareness provide an eye-opening perspective that can open the doors to new opportunities whilst making the community more inclusive and changing how we support people with autism at home and within the community.
When finding the perfect home for our tenants, we consider each individual’s specific needs concerning both housing and support. We prioritise our tenants and are flexible to ensure that we deliver the housing people want.
Our BEDROCK values are the core of our organisation, emphasising how we proceed by enquiry. We guarantee to engage, ask and enquire as our priority is our tenants finding their perfect home. We strive to acquire not only the best property but also the most suitable match to meet their support needs.
Here are some extremely useful links that helped with the writing of this article: