Theo: Independence with Autism

In support of World Autism Day, we aim to promote awareness and an understanding of autism, as well as the importance of recognising the gifts, talents and resources that the people we support already have. We use person-centred techniques that enable individuals to have as much control over their lives as possible, ensuring they play a central role in the provision of their own support.

Theo is a man who enjoys going for walks through Virginia Water and Richmond Park, bopping his head to music and eating out at local restaurants; he also has autism, which means that routine changes are often quite difficult for him. Following the passing of his mother, the opportunity for Theo to stay at Certitude’s respite service and provide his family a much-needed break became a priority for all those involved with his care. Working closely with Theo’s family over a number of months, the team were able to ensure that his first overnight stay away from home in eight years was a success.

With the recent loss of his mother, Theo was transitioning through an incredibly difficult period of his life and required 2-to-1 support. He had become increasingly aggressive and his brother was struggling to cope with the increasing demands of Theo’s care.

Theo’s family discussed the preparation of his stay in great detail with the team. As he was not comfortable with changes to his routine, the agreed bed-time procedure mirrored that of his home schedule, while his brother provided a substantial amount of information regarding the situations that may arise throughout the night. Everything was prepared and ready, though Theo’s reaction to the evening’s plans were by no means certain.

Thankfully, Theo settled incredibly well – less than 10 minutes after tucking himself in, he began to shake the walls with his snoring!

Staff monitored his progress throughout the night and, in the morning, he was assisted with personal care, breakfast and medication before staff dropped him home at 8am.

Subsequent nights have, overall, been incredibly successful, and the overnight stays away from his home have been a gradual, cautious but positive progression in Theo’s development. This was also the first night in many years that Theo’s brother was able to enjoy a night to himself.

Theo’s brother now has time to meet friends, get through household tasks and has even taken on volunteering roles.

As an organisation, we work together with people and their families at their own pace to ensure we provide support in ways that work for them. We strive to be resourceful, finding creative ways to work in partnership with people, through thick and thin; we thank Theo and his family for sticking with us, too!