2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day, an internationally recognised day every year, encouraging people to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world. 

Below are two case studies which show how POhWER support people with autism to have their voices heard about the way they want to live.

Jacqui and Matt's story

Jacqui is a single mother who works full-time. Her son, Matt, has autism and suffers seizures. Matt has been going to a college in a different town for three years. During this time he had shown enormous gains, had made friends and the college had become accustomed to his presentation and behaviours.

The Council notified Jacqui that they were no longer going to fund Matt’s transport arrangements to get to college. Jacqui was extremely stressed about the situation, as the new arrangements would mean that her son would need to be dropped at a bus stop at 7am and be collected from the same place 12 hours later every day.

Jacqui was allocated a POhWER advocate, Sean. He suggested that Jacqui could contact Matt’s doctor to ask for a letter explaining Matt’s diagnosis, and the likely issues that the change in arrangement would create. Jacqui sent the letter to the Council and requested a reconsideration of the decision.

At Jacqui’s request Sean liaised with the Adult Social Care team. After persisting with this and contacting different teams the Council confirmed that they would review the matter and speak with transport services.

Jacqui subsequently received a letter to say that it had been agreed that social care would fund the extra cost of transport. Jacqui could continue working and her son could finish his placement at the college.

Jacqui provided the following feedback to her advocate:

May I offer my sincere thanks to you and your team for the fantastic support you gave me and my son, from sending many emails to contacting the relevant people within Adult disability services!

Without this support, my son would not have been able to attend his final year at college, due to the local authority not providing transport for him.

Your tremendous support and the key people you engaged with at Adult Disability Services, have allowed my son to continue with his education.

I truly believe without the vital support your team offers vulnerable disabled young adults, they would be forgotten by our local authorities.

Kirsty's story

Kirsty has a mild learning disability and autism; she also has a stammer which gets worse when she is in a stressful situation. As a child she was sexually abused and placed in foster care; she moved in to a residential home in her teens when the placement broke down. Our advocate Jo supported Kirsty to consider alternative accommodation options and she decided to move into supported living.

After 18 months Kirsty was referred to POhWER again; she had got engaged and she and her fiancé Greg wanted to live more independently. Jo supported Kirsty again; tailoring her support to Kirsty’s needs by meeting her face-to-face and encouraging her to write down her wishes when she was struggling to express them verbally. Jo helped her consider the available options and communicate her wishes to her social worker. Kirsty and Greg now have their own flat; they currently have a small care package to help them settle into independent living and this will be kept under review. Kirsty is very happy and planning her wedding.