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A look at how teams at Autism Initiatives support people to deal with the changes that life brings their way.

Many of us find change difficult. Moving between different stages of life is especially hard if you find comfort in routine, as many autistic people do. We call these times of change ‘transitions’.

Enabling smooth, positive transitions can be one of the most rewarding areas of support work. One of the biggest changes some autistic people face is the transition into supported living services. At Autism Initiatives we have teams dedicated to working alongside autistic people supporting them to adapt to and thrive in their new home.

We understand that every transition is different and marks a significant milestone for individuals. In some cases, people transition from their family home to a service, while others make the move from a different provider of supported living accommodation.

No matter the circumstances, teams at Autism Initiatives services are trained to work alongside individuals and families in partnership. This approach ensures that autistic people and loved ones feel listened to and supported before, during and after transitions.

To shed some light on how transitions are supported Autism Initiatives, Service Manager, John and Support Worker, Fiona kindly shared their approach.

First and foremost, getting to know the individual and their family is priority. John shared that support workers and service managers often visit autistic people and their families in their current home, which helps to build a positive connection from the beginning.

Fiona added: “Families sometimes worry about whether they are doing the right thing, so it’s nice to give people reassurance and show them how a person is settling into the new environment.”

The team also spend time supporting people to prepare for a transition. This can include showing photographs of the service and talking to people about their new home. John and Fiona also like to make sure familiar home comforts are moved to the service before the person arrives. John shared: “For one transition this year, we made sure to have one lady’s favourite possessions ready. For example, a dressing gown and other familiar items.”

The Autism Initiatives approach to transitions also prioritises personal choices and interests. Fiona highlighted the importance of offering choice as a support worker. Fiona said: “We ask people what they want to do and tailor activities, days out or communal events at the service to each person. For example, one person likes to go the supermarket, get ice-cream and go swimming. They have chosen their own swimming costume and will also pick their own suitcase for a weekend away.”

John added: “Our main focus is ensuring people feel valued and respected. Our attitudes and culture give people more choices and opportunities to reach their full potential”

As an organisation, this person-centred approach helps to promote the health and wellbeing of autistic people and supports individuals to develop further independence.