Natalie's Story

Among Natalie’s favourite pastimes are visiting her family, going to the local library, cooking, shopping, massage, aromatherapy and art. But if you ask Natalie what makes her happiest of all, she’ll tell you it’s the fact that she’s lived at her shared home for the last four years, whereas previously frequent placement breakdowns were the norm.

It was a carefully planned transition for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and challenging needs that paved the way for Natalie’s calmer, happier lifestyle where she decides what she wants to do and when. In addition, a plan to reinforce positive interactions, a carefully tailored communication plan and a risk management plan have helped Natalie to enjoy an ordinary life at home.

Maggie's story

Maggie has taken ownership of her own life, identifying likes, dislikes and triggers, and taking control of her own feelings and behaviours. This is a far cry from when Maggie came to Yarrow many years ago. Back then, she posed a risk to herself and others and found it hard to express her feelings.  But Maggie collaborated with our staff team, the Community Specialist Team and her father to develop a support plan.  Critical to its success was the appointment of a key worker with experience in mental health problems and regular risk assessments and support plan review meetings.

Lydia's story

Lydia speaks with confidence and has learnt to disagree with staff. Lydia was brought up in a children’s home, where she lived with nine others and just two staff on shift at any one time. Because there was little time for dedication to Lydia’s needs, the belief that she had rights and the urge to speak her mind were alien to her.

This all changed with Lydia’s move to supported living within Yarrow. She now shares a home with two other good friends with learning disabilities. She took part in her own risk assessment so that her abilities and anxieties were clearly identified at the outset and to ensure she was in control of her own life. Her 35 hours of support per week have now been cut to 10.

Sally’s story

Sally was forced into a respite setting for 18 months when her mother – with whom she lived - died. With no support plan in place, she was deeply unhappy.  Yarrow worked with Sally to get her home and then carefully observed her behaviour to work out how to enhance her quality of life, by interpreting what she was telling them. Together, they worked out that Sally needed glasses and that her newfound visual skills were the key to her being offered greater choice.  Sally’s progress is such that choice is no longer enough. She will ask for alternatives that have not been offered and as a direct result of this growing communication, her frustration has reduced dramatically.

Sally used to need two support workers and a taxi when she went out, but now she uses the bus and underground, and is accompanied by just one support worker. She still has night time support.  Sally is now settled and happy.

Bert's story

Acting appropriately in social situations is a great achievement for Bert. He used to verbally abuse members of the public, as well as staff, at his supported living scheme. His antisocial behaviour, which included brandishing knives and saws and damaging property, often landed him in court and on one occasion in prison.

Bert’s dramatic change began when he was referred to Yarrow’s Supported Living service, which has a history of success in working with people with dual diagnosis and mental health issues.  Particularly helpful in Bert’s transition – which includes him travelling independently - has been the specialist input that he received from a range of professionals, as well as Yarrow’s close monitoring of his support plan.