- 1.England and Residential Homes for Autism
During my visit to England, I had the opportunity to visit independent living houses and supported living houses and to examine the opportunities offered. I have learned very well about the rights that should be offered to individuals with autism after the age of 18. I hope one day our children will have the same opportunities. Let’s see what can be done to improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and adults with autism after the age of 18? What is a supported and independent living house?
In England, supported living homes system is used, which enables individuals with autism to live independently. The same system exists as independent living homes for those with high functioning autism, and as nursing homes for more severe cases. Attention is focused on the individual in participating out-of-home activities at least 4 days a week in homes. For this purpose, social activities such as music, shopping, art, museum visits, cinema or theatre are planned. For other days, indoor activities such as garden party and barbecue are planned. Individuals with autism at home determine their needs with their special educators and do their shopping according to their own preferences. Cleanliness is also at your own responsibility, such as creating weekly menus and cooking meals.
There is a “key” special education specialist who plans the whole process for each individual and supports the individual with autism. They also have educators working three shifts for 24 hours. According to the needs of the individual with autism, different specialists such as barber, language speech therapist, swallowing therapist, shoemaker, nail cutting specialist, sports trainer, music or art teacher, orthopaedist, dentist, dietician often come and support the houses according to the education specialist’s approval. With all this planning, it is aimed to have quality and independent living opportunities.
All of the specialists have to be trained on autism and the specific sensitivities of the individual they work with. They prevent any problems from arising by planning an intervention program based on their sensitivity and needs. They are making strategic preparations to be prepared for situations that cannot be avoided. For example, let’s consider an individual with autism who does not want to give blood. In her anamnesis, her family seems to have a disease such as diabetes or blood pressure. Since diagnosis is not possible, they form a common plan with the dietician. In this way, if it has the disease, its progression is prevented. If there is no disease in the individual, it is prevented from happening.
Every place they go is organized according to the sensitivity of individuals with autism. Employees at the destination are informed about the autism and the special sensitivity of the individual with the autism. They learn how to behave in the event of a problematic behaviour or an emotional explosion. An educator accompanies the individual with autism during all activities.
The weekly and monthly plans of individuals with autism are decided by the family and experts together. Weekly and monthly plans are developed in accordance with the annual plan objectives. The family is informed in detail about their annual, monthly and weekly plans.
Although it is possible to participate in supported living houses during the daytime, giving individuals with autism a voice in preferences and planning, freedom and serenity make individuals prefer these houses to live.
All expenses are covered by the salary attached to the individual with autism on the state side. Whether spending is with the individual’s free will is strictly controlled. With the same salaries, they can go on holiday once or twice a year with their private trainers.
In addition, individuals with autism can benefit from these homes with individuals with specific diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, mental retardation, angelman syndrome, Tourette syndrome, rett syndrome, and asperger syndrome.