Young man and support worker doing gardening in a greenhouse, next to quote

Meet Connor, a young autistic adult and a member of one of our Centres, which he visits every day from Monday - Friday. Connor enjoys taking part in in the Centre's many trips and activities, from café trips and swimming to theme park visits.

Connor joined the Centre in 2015. At the time, he was living with his family. Connor's mother, Carole, had taken nine months off work to look after him, as local services failed to provide appropriate care. Carole spoke to her social worker about the possibility of Connor joining a National Autistic Society Centre. She was told that Connor would not be able to access the service as he had an educational budget. After trying out a local college and a local day centre, both of which failed to accommodate his needs, Connor was eventually referred to one of our Centres.

When Connor first joined the Centre he seemed very anxious. By this time he was only settled at home and was anxious and afraid when away from his family or his house. He initially struggled with being in an unfamiliar environment and the uncertainty of meeting new people. This resulted in challenging behaviour, including self-harm, violence towards members of staff, and an incident towards a member of the public. Finally his distress resulted in him hitting out twice at a family member. The distress of being away from his family, and the subsequent challenging behaviour lasted for about two years. It took both Connor and the staff members a while to recognise what the exact triggers of his anxiety were. Together they worked on managing techniques and calming strategies. Over time, Connor's behaviour improved and he was gradually able to develop positive relationships with members of staff.

Continuity is very important to Connor, as he struggles with unexpected changes. Too many unfamiliar faces can cause him to become anxious and upset. Staff have adapted to this by making sure he has a consistent support team around him who he knows and trusts. This has helped him gain the confidence to go out and about, and to engage with his community. He has also been able to access his own car, which he can use to explore the local area independently.

With the help of his core support team, Connor has grown in confidence and has become much more involved with his community. He has been getting involved in all activities the Centre has to offer: including swimming, trips to Crealy Theme Park, Weston Pier, and visiting local cafes, to name a few! The Centre also offers educational support to autistic adults, which Connor is taking part in. The programmes take a person-centred approach to learning, using tools such as TEACH, PECs, SPELL and total communication training. Staff members also received specific training, in order to meet Connor's needs.

Connor now lives in his own home, supported by full time staff. This is an incredible achievement, and something he has been working towards for a long time. He currently spends three nights a week at his parents' home. We suspect he may start spending more time at his own place, due to the progress he is making.

Collage images of a young autistic man

His family tell us:

"Connor is now living the life we always hoped for. The Centre is delivering a person centered approach with respect and understanding. They have consulted with us in every step of the way and for that we will always be grateful.

They are the first to treat and respect Connor for who he is, never frowning upon anything he has done wrong, but accepting it as what he needs to do and never judging him for it.

There is total respect for who he is and he is treated with empathy and understanding. This was something new to him and it is wonderful to see Connor active, progress and feel so valued".

We are delighted to hear about the progress that Connor has made since he joined us. We hope that, with the support of his staff and family members, he can continue to build on his skills and live the life he chooses.

For more information on supported living services and current availability, visit our Placements page.

Find out more about placements