Described as ‘an excellent read providing visionary insight’ by Jane Miller (County Manager Occupational Therapy and Reablement, Kent County Council), Autism and Enablement shows how to help adults with autism achieve greater independence and become more self-sufficient.
We are very pleased to receive so much positive feedback after the launch of our book Autism and Enablement. The Kent specialist ASC Enablement approach is the first of its kind provided by a UK Local Authority and we are honoured to publish a book on the approach. We hope that the approach is taken up nationally; this is only equitable because enablement is provided across the county to older people and people with physical needs, and increasingly to people with mental health issues and learning disability. We would argue that people on the spectrum are prime candidate for enablement because it is not inevitable that just because you have autism you should be destined to rely on others throughout the lifespan. People we have met have been found to have significant potential for personal growth, increased self-worth and self-esteem, for an increased sense of wellbeing and internal resilience; many just haven’t been offered the right support and neither have their supporters.
As our book demonstrates it is beholden to social and health care commissioners to fund ‘Autism Teams’ to people in need of care and support as per Autism guidance – and in line with the Care Act (2014) we should empower and enable people to increase their skills and independence. Our enablement approach has now assisted 80 people to date and we are seeking funds to support many more people each year. The outcomes self-assessed by participants so far have amazed even us – increased sensory tolerance, enhanced motor and process skills, increase in self-esteem, over 60% reduction in care and support packages; people sleeping for the first time or coming off mental health medication. The success of specialist ASC enablement lies in the tripartite involvement of: people on the spectrum willing to give it a go, supporters keen to help the person move on their life, and lastly skilled specialist assessors who can engage and inspire individuals in a positive, strengths-based manner; from good assessment comes good outcomes. Though our book is about an enablement offer via Occupational Therapy with social work involvement, the book is of interest to more than just OT’s – as Dr Peter Vermeulen states when he provides a Foreword to the Book – ‘With its unique combination of research data and illustrative case examples, Autism and Enablement is a rich source of information and inspiration for everyone (not only occupational therapists but also other professionals, parents and even policy makers) looking for ways to increase the independence, relatedness and competence of young adults with autism.’
We have had a busy two months since our Book Launch in Kent, showcasing our enablement approach to conferences, the College of OT, at the OT Show, and we are principally highlighted in the recent NAS guide: ‘Getting needs assessments for autistic adults right from the start’. Our social care research paper on ASC Enablement is soon to be published also. We hope you enjoy reading our book and spread the word –enablement should be a core offer to all those in need of improving their independence and wellbeing.
– Matt Bushell, Sandra Gasson & Ute Vann
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