Our Approach to Treating Autism
Over recent years, there has been much debate surrounding the terms- spectrum disorder and spectrum condition. However, at ASC Healthcare we have adopted the term autism spectrum condition which is aligned to our principles, our core values, our approach and our philosophy and it is less stigmatizing, it reflects that these individuals have not only disabilities that require a medical diagnosis, but also areas of cognitive strength.
The spectrum of conditions supported by ASC Healthcare includes those known as “classic autism” Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), also known as “atypical autism”. The approach that we have adopted while carrying out treatment for autism and influences and underpins clinical practice and aims to embrace the most up to date research surrounding the heterogeneity of ASC and its multiplicity of underlying causes.
We do not believe in working within a deficit model while treating autism, i.e. we do not focus on what people can’t do but on their strengths. We know and firmly understand that people with autism or an ASC condition have undoubted strengths such as, learning and following routines and understanding visual information, and that we can support these strengths to offset their individual areas of difficulty. This is the starting point for everyone we support, thereafter we can enable their on-going development by surrounding them with good autism practices and approaches that are meaningful to them.
Such a perspective of autism treatment aims to govern our staff approach and flow throughout the treatment, intervention and support activities, for learning disability and/or ASC. Today ASC Healthcare is revered amongst the most popular generic learning disability, mental health and autism specific service providers.
When it comes to treating autism, we value each person’s condition as being unique to them and based on our understanding of the multiplicity of underlying causes develop and aim to provide individualized, person centered and person specific programs of treatment support and intervention within the care pathway – Specific Care Pathway. Our expectation is that people with ASC can learn and develop and we support this process every single day in treating autism.
Evidence from research and the experience of people with ASC within services demonstrates their unique vulnerability to over direction, resulting in an inter-dependence on support which may be perceived as a ‘need’ rather than as a consequence of staff approaches. We believe that what makes good services different in treating autism is the ability of staff to look behind what they see and hear, avoiding neuro-typical interpretations and to recognize the underlying or intended meaning of behavior or communication.
Through our work alongside people rather than for and developing ‘power with’ relationships, rather than ‘power over’ we firmly believe that effective strategies of treatingautism that will actively enable each individual to contribute to and be consulted on all aspects of their lives. This is echoed through our mission statement:
“Through our unique delivery of a social and clinical partnership model, we will actively support individuals to develop a range of life skills and functional strategies. These will allow individuals to live the life they want to live now and in the future.
We recognize and endorse the philosophy that a hospital is not a home, but a place for extra support, during a critical time in a person’s lifetime. The emphasis of our work from point of referral will always focus on discharge preparation”.