Autism Innovation (Capital) Grant:
In November 2014, the Department of Health issued information about an opportunity for Local Authorities to receive a new and non-recurrent grant during 2014/15.
The information detailed that the money would be for supporting the implementation of ‘Think Autism’, the recent update to the 2010 Adult Autism Strategy for England.
Various suggestions as to how the funding could be utilised were listed to include;
purchasing electrical equipment or ‘Smart technology’ (i.e. IPads, electronic tablets etc) and modifying environments to make them more ‘autism friendly’.
The Portsmouth Community Learning Disability Team (which is an integrated healthcare and social care team) put in a bid for the grant in December 2014 and were successful in being awarded the funding.
Thephotos below detailsome of the equipment which the money was spent on. The purpose of these items are for supporting service users when they are waiting in reception or during appointments and meetings with professionals. The items photographed are predominantly designed for supporting people who have sensory needs, but wealso purchased other items such as IPads and a new TV screen for reception.
The sensory equipment items are still new and the team are getting used to them still. Extensive work was completed on producing risk assessments and guidelines of use for all of the items, so that all staff can use the equipment, not just the occupational therapy team. One of our community nurses, Jo Senior, has reflected on the success of using the equipment with a young gentleman who has previously struggled with attending appointments at our office base.
A quote from Joanne Senior (Community Nurse in the Portsmouth Intensive Support Team) talking about the success of using the equipment with one of her service users….
“Mr.Ahas Autism and a moderate learning disability, he also experiences voices/noises that cause him to become distressed and vocalise loudly at times. Mr.Afinds appointments and meetings difficult, especially if he is being asked to contribute in any way or answer questions. Mr.Aattends his three monthly CPA meetings and with support from his parents he usually manages to remain in the room for 20-30 minutes, he very rarely contributes verbally other than to say that he is ok. I began to trial the use of the new Autism equipment including the ear defenders, fidget box and the weighted blanket during our work sessions. Mr.Afound the fidget box and weighted blanket
particularly helpful, alongside theuse of a timer on the Ipad we were able to increase the length of our sessions gradually and Mr. M began to contribute more and participate in a meaningful way.
I asked Mr.Aif he would like to use any of the equipment at his planned CPA in
November, he asked to use the timer, fidget box and weighted blanket. The timer was set for 30 minutes however whilst using the items in the fidget box Mr. M kept asking for the timer to be re-set and managed to stay for the duration of his CPA (60 minutes). Mr.Awas also able to contribute verbally during his CPA, he answered questions and even asked a number of questions himself.
Following the CPA Mr.Acommented that he was proud of himself for staying for the whole CPA. He said that the equipment helped and although he did not use the weighted blanket on this occasion he felt reassured knowing that it was there if he needed to use it.”