This week’s diary is by an outreach worker for an autistic charity

Visit the gym with a young person who has anxieties about
being on different floors in buildings. Going upstairs to the
weights machines and balancing on the rowing machine add to the
usual anxieties of being surrounded by other people. However, I am
immensely pleased with this young person’s progress and resolve. Go
back to the office for discussion on the move to new offices, which
are needed because the charity is expanding, as is the sector. The
afternoon is taken up with giving a presentation on Asperger’s
syndrome to a private residential home. It goes well and plan a
further session on structuring the environment.

Write letters to individual services users with diverse needs. They
have to be worded carefully so as not to cause confusion for them.
Then write more letters to all parents and carers. Some time ago a
parent suggested it would be good to meet other parents to share
information and discuss concerns. The addition of a student on
placement at the charity seems the ideal point to begin this. In
the midst of disruption, delays and interesting phone calls, it
takes the whole day to set up.

Go to a forum for professionals working with people with Asperger’s
syndrome. It’s a welcome opportunity to meet and share experiences
with others. The forum has grown so much we discuss having smaller,
more regional meetings. The theme for the day is sexuality and
there are a couple of interesting presentations on the topic. I
come away with a feeling of having a huge task to perform in
offering support to people with such diverse, and sometimes,
extreme needs. It’s food for thought and something to bring up with
my line manager.

A care manager contacts me about meeting someone she thinks might
have autism. We briefly discuss the situation and I arrange to join
her on a home visit. A tutor at the adult education college calls
me with an update on the part-time course for young adults with
social communication needs. I’ve been involved from its inception
and it’s good to be kept informed. Discuss the future of the course
with another organisation involved in setting it up.

Back to the gym. We are aiming to take users away on a holiday and
this motivation is a useful way of encouraging integration between
them and others. Later I have a care programme approach meeting at
a mental health residence for a man whose behaviour is causing real
challenges. Feel the situation is coming to a head and the meeting
finishes late. Friday night is when most people like to meet
friends, relax, play games and chat. Tonight is quiz night and I go
home reflecting on what a warm atmosphere there was and how the
evening was enjoyed by all.


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