Meet Grace, an autistic adult who lives at our Hoylands House residential service.

Grace moved into Hoylands House in 2013. She previously lived at our Clayton Croft home and went to the Robert Ogden School. During the moving period, Grace was struggling to engage her usual activities and was no longer going to school.

Although the initial transition was difficult, Grace was able to gain confidence through the support of our staff at Hoylands House. Creating a quiet, low arousal environment has allowed Grace to develop and transition within the home at her own pace and take on new opportunities. Our staff use pictures as a communication tool to help introduce Grace to new activities and new places. So far, these have included visiting the garden, taking short car trips, and even using the hot tub!

Structure is very important to Grace as it helps reduce her anxiety in unfamiliar situations. Staff have supported her in this by gradually building new activities into her usual routine. Activities need to be predictable in order to reduce anxiety. For instance, she always goes to Greggs for lunch after visiting the recycling bank, which she does regularly. It is important for Grace to be able to do things in her own time, and on a day to day basis. Staff have supported her in doing with the help of a 'how best to support me guide', which allows her to feel more in control.

Grace used to love going swimming, but has been finding it difficult to get out and about. Staff have also been gradually reintroducing her to swimming by encouraging her to use the hot tub. Grace can sometimes be hesitant about getting in the car. This has improved through the use of a symbol schedule. During journeys she dislikes waiting at traffic lights, due to the disruption. In order to help her with this, our team try to plan routes with limited traffic lights, where possible.

Grace loves eating and recently enjoyed a two course meal at a local pub. She has also been getting in touch with her creative side through onsite craft workshops. Her most recent creation was a Mother's Day card for her mum, which she made during one of the workshops.

Collage of photos of a young autistic woman

Rachel Dixon, Manager at Hoylands House, commented on Grace's progress saying:

What seem like everyday activities to most people are huge achievements to Grace. The staff are a credit to our service, they have worked hard to open up new opportunities for Grace to fulfil her potential and enjoy new experiences.

Grace still displays challenging behaviour from time to time. She has some OCD tendencies and can get upset when things are not in their correct place. Staff record her day to day moods and behaviour in order to monitor her progress. Although her moods vary, she is generally a friendly person who greets those around her with a big smile and a 'hello'.

We are really happy to hear of Grace's progress since moving to Hoylands House. We hope that, with the support of our staff, she can continue to pursue new opportunities.

 

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