Halland House is home to people with all types of learning disabilities, but in this blog post, we want to focus on caring for people with autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).
How autism affects people
The very name, autistic spectrum disorder, is a sign of the variation in how autism can affect people. Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people interact with other people and the world around them. This can manifest in a variety of different ways, but often includes difficulties with social communication and interaction, repetitive behaviour and noticeable sensitivity to light, sound, touch and other sensory experiences.
Anxiety is often a part of autism, with certain situations causing severe anxiety. Some people also experience either meltdowns or shutdowns when things get too overwhelming.
One aspect of autism that many people are aware of is a highly focused interest in a specific thing. This could be a hobby or an interest in a certain subject such as caring for the environment in the case of Greta Thunberg.
Autism and residential care
For many people with autism, it is entirely possible to live either alone or with other people, with the right level of support. For some people though, their level of autism means that they are more comfortable living in a place that offers appropriate care whenever they need it.
At our learning disabilities care home in Uckfield, East Sussex, we offer varying levels of care. The home is divided into three areas, enabling us to provide the right level of support for everyone, from our highly dependent residents to those developing independent living skills.
Supporting people with autism
Caring for people with autism means a lot more than just helping with mealtimes and medication. Communication can be one of the most difficult aspects of living life with autism, with some people unable to speak at all. Our staff are trained in alternative methods of communication such as using pictures or Makaton – a language that uses a combination of signs, symbols and speech.
Our care plans are person-centred as we understand that everyone has different wants, needs, hopes and dreams. Plans are reviewed regularly to ensure we are providing the appropriate level of care at all times.
Our residents have their own rooms, with their own furniture and decor to enable them to express themselves and feel at home, and our shared spaces are designed to be relaxing and comfortable. We also have a sensory room where residents can go to calm down if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Making life enjoyable for people with autism
At Halland House, we are committed to making life enjoyable and fulfilling for our residents, so if an autistic resident has a particular interest or hobby that means a lot to them, we will do everything we can to help facilitate it. We encourage setting personal development goals and support our residents in working towards those goals.
We hold regular activities in our dedicated room, giving residents a chance to do something fun or creative. We also have our own minibus, making it easy for us to take residents on outings. They will always be accompanied by at least one carer and we plan ahead so that residents’ needs and limitations are taken into consideration. We go out to places like local cafes and shops but we also understand that some people prefer to go somewhere quiet, so trips to the beach or countryside are also options.
Find out more
If you have a loved one with autism who you think would benefit from residential care, visit our website to find out more about Halland House.