Total communication and highly structured programmes

At Fairmont we follow the TEACCH (Treatment and Education for Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children) approach. This is a highly structured 24-hour approach which helps the service users to develop lifetime independence skills. TEACCH recognises that the effects of autism are unique to an individual person, and so takes a person-centred approach to assessment; identifying and developing a support programme based upon that person’s abilities, interests and needs. TEACCH is a broad-based approach acknowledging all aspects of life. In addition to structured teaching and learning, the development of effective communication and appropriate leisure opportunities are key aspects of the approach.

We also advocate PECS & WECS – The Picture/Word Exchange Communication Systems. The main objective is to help individuals acquire clear, functional communication skills. The essential goal is to enable our service users to enjoy a less stressful life by being able to communicate their needs and preferences.

A safe and stimulating environment

At Fairmont, as well as using total communication and a structured approach we use risk assessment and positive behaviour support to enable our service users to develop personal, life and independence skills. However, we recognise that even with the use of such proactive approaches the nature of our service users’ needs are such that there are times when their behaviour can escalate and it is essential that our staff are able to respond. All Fairmont staff are trained for such situations in MAPA (Management of Actual or Potential Aggression) A programme designed to enhance an understanding of disruptive, aggressive and challenging behaviour. This programme of training was developed by the Crisis Prevention Institute, it provides for the care, welfare, safety and security of everyone involved in a crisis situation. We have our own team of qualified instructors who not only train staff but can help debrief staff and service users after any crisis situations. The principles and techniques taught in this programme have repeatedly proven effective in resolving potentially challenging physical situations. The knowledge gained has helped staff focus on the functional behaviour assessment, why behaviours occur and teaches the skills needed to deliver positive behaviour support to our service users.

High ratios of skilled staff

At Fairmont, we recruit our staff with great care, we want staff with the right values, attitude and behaviours who will put our service users at the heart of what they do. We follow Skills for Care best practice in recruitment which always includes an enhanced DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) and current / last employer references. Our base staffing is 1:1 throughout the waking day, and we also have waking night staff. Our teams consist of Senior Care Support Workers and Care Support Workers who are supported and supervised by experienced and qualified managers and deputies. We place great emphasis on training and all of our staff undertake extensive induction and specialist continuing training. We have vigorous safeguarding policies and procedures.

A family inclusive approach

At Fairmont we believe that even when a person leaves home they do not leave the family. Our service users are consistently encouraged to keep in contact with important people in their lives. We facilitate this through the use of telephone, email and supported visits. Fairmont will always try to facilitate family visitors to our service user homes. We also encourage keyworkers and Managers to keep in touch with families and have regular reviews with family, advocates, Local Authority staff and commissioners.

We carry out regular stakeholder surveys, and act on feedback given to us.