Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition. The main features of autism are persistent difficulties in social interaction and communication and the presence of rigid and repetitive behaviours. People with autism are often resistant to change or may have restricted interests. Some people with autism also commonly experience difficulty with sensory sensitivity, sensory processing and emotional regulation difficulties. The features of autism may range from mild to severe and can fluctuate over time or in response to changes in circumstances. It is estimated there are currently 700,000 people in England with autism and the need for specialist care has never been greater.
So that’s the general criteria for a diagnosis of autism but in reality every person with autism is uniquely different. The way that autism affects a person changes at different stages of life and can depend on coexisting conditions such as learning disabilities.
Having autism can make living in our noisy, busy and totally unpredictable world very difficult. This sometimes results in people with autism presenting challenging behaviour. This behaviour serves important functions for the person who displays it, helping them to cope better or exert some control over their immediate environment. It is not a deliberate attempt to upset or harm others.
Fairmont supports people in our residential care homes by fully recognising the difficulty of living with autism and a severe learning disability. Our ethos offers the best level of residential care ensuring the highest possible quality of life and outcomes for our service users.
Our approach reflects Care Quality Commission (CQC) small group or bespoke single homes that allow people to be part of the community and promote their independence but at the same time taking our own evidence and research into account that many people with autism and sensory issues prefer quiet rural settings. Our homes in and around Stourbridge and Kidderminster offer the best of both. Our first home opened in 2007 and we now have five homes offering person centred care for nineteen young adults with autism, learning disabilities and other complex needs. All of our homes have consistently been rated as “Good” by CQC.
Fairmont recognise our staff as our finest resource and provide continuous training and development opportunities ensuring the highest standard of care is provided and maintained. We have key teams led by a senior care support worker for each service user. Our managers are highly qualified and experienced in learning disability and autism and provide vital support and supervision to our staff teams.
We know that challenging behaviour presented by people with autism is reduced by better meeting needs and increasing their quality of life. Our services are underpinned by a positive behaviour support model. We reduce barriers to development caused by challenging behaviour by teaching the person to use alternative communication via signing and use of symbols and by providing predictability and structure in their day. We then offer meaningful activities and pastimes to promote stability, opportunity and development for our service users. We place particular emphasis on physical activity, long walks through local woods and rural treks are part of our service user’s daily activity schedule.
We engage with parents and families recognising they are the enduring people in the lives of the people in our care. Our success is also endorsed by families. In a recent CQC Report comments from a family, who live nearby and visit their son twice a week, included.
“We have total trust that staff always work in our son’s best interests at all times. It is a wonderful home for [person’s name], they are relaxed in it and we can see how settled they are. We were heavily consulted on the care plan and are invited to the reviews or to come in for discussions if there are any major changes”
If you would like to make a referral to Fairmont or enquire about any job vacancies please contact our West Midlands Office on 01384 395928.