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.

Herbert's story

Herbert, who is middle-aged, has recently taken to travelling independently for the first time in his life - not just locally but further afield too. All this from a man who previously couldn’t travel on his own and would become challenging if he was presented with anything he couldn’t cope with.

Yarrow worked with Herbert, who is autistic, and his family to address his emotional, communication and practical issues before introducing a rigorous travel training programme. It took just six months for Herbert to travel alone, using a mobile phone to keep in hourly contact with Yarrow staff.

Henry's story

Henry, who is middle-aged, wants a job. The problem is he’s never been able to travel independently.  But after 10 years of being taken to a day centre every weekday, he’d had enough. When Yarrow took over his support he told them so. He said he wanted to work instead and get there on his own.

Henry worked with Yarrow to develop a training programme for himself that incorporated travel, money handling and work experience.  He has since made new friends and is an active member of the local community.  He now has the confidence to seek a paid job.

Andrew, Keith, James and Paul's story

Andrew, Keith, James and Paul were resettled from long-stay hospitals into two connecting flats. They had been on locked wards since childhood because of extremely challenging behaviour, autism and mental health issues. Initially the insecurity caused by the move resulted in an increase of behavioural problems.  But carefully planned transition, good observation and listening skills from Yarrow staff meant triggers for this behaviour could be identified. Objects of reference, such as beer mats signifying a trip to the pub or a carrier bag denoting a shopping trip, enabled all four individuals to express their needs and desires.

The lifestyle changes have not been without hurdles, but the men now require far less staff support and spend their time doing things they want to do.

Andrew's story

Andrew, who has a diagnosis of autism, has been enjoying multi-media art classes at The Gate since they began several years ago. However, he does not respond well to being asked to do the same as everyone else in the class, so the art tutor has worked flexibly with Andrew on an individual basis, enabling him to achieve some remarkable work, including a recent 5 ft sculpture of a man.  Andrew is proud of his newfound ability to express a personal and unique style.