Dearest Autism Community,
We hope you, your family and loved ones are safe and coping well during this challenging time.
Thank you to all who completed our recent service and for your incredible feedback. Approx. 80% of those who responded have indicated that they would like to continue with face-to-face work.
As a provider of essential services, we are exempt from restrictions regarding our face-to-face services (both groups and 1:1) and so we will continue to run all our services using a mixed model of online and face-to-face where appropriate.
Our current risk assessment can be found here. We will be revising it this week to account for the additional measures we are taking to ensure we run services in a COVID secure way.
In addition to our normal risk measures, please read carefully the changes below:
- In relation to groups, we will try as much as possible to keep consistent staff bubbles and not have staff mix in different groups unless those run more than 48 hours apart. This may not always be possible as we do not always have enough staff but we will do our best.
- Leaders will contact you and ascertain whether a) you/your child wants to continue coming to group b) you/your child is using multiple other services therefore mixing in number of bubbles c) you/your child is clinically vulnerable We will (only if necessary) suspend a group whilst waiting for a COVID result where we feel that symptoms are compatible with COVID and/or someone has had contact with someone tested positive or displaying symptoms.
- On arrival to work, leaders will continue to take temperatures of every one attending, staff and children alike.
- We will add a “clinically extremely vulnerable” risk category for our staff and people we support as per national guideline. If you consider yourself or your child to be in that category and you have not already told us, please do so. We will move some groups online where this is preferred or where we have no access to venues. For our adult service users we will continue to build on our virtual calendar of events, as we know that they have provided useful activities and would like to provide more for anyone looking for activities during lockdown.
- A reminder that if you/your child and anyone in your family is not feeling unwell that you let us know before coming into our group or session.
We know how COVID and lockdown can disproportionally impact our Autism community and how many of the people we support have struggled with loss of routine and through picking up the added anxiety from the external environment. We see you.
We are committed to being here for you and your loved one(s) during this time and we thank you for your cooperation in helping us continue our work safely.
Stay Safe and Well
Updating Our Services
Whilst we have run an adapted service throughout C-19 we are slowly resuming our full service. All of our services and activities are now including C-19 specific risk assessment to ensure they can be provided safely.
You can find a copy of our COVID-19 Specific Risk Assessment for our groups and for our 1:1 support see here.
And for our current policy and safeguarding see here.
Updating Our Services
As of 26.06.2020 we are starting to resume our work whilst retaining a mixed model of support of online, and face to face work.
Please do get in touch or make a referral if you require support.
March 2020 Updates
COVID-19 and our Autism Community
The situation around the current spread of COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we constantly keep ourselves updated, as we know you do too. We do not wish to bombard you with more information but we felt it was important to collate a selection of useful autism specific resources, and also to provide you with some guidance about RFA.
We’re monitoring and staying up to date with UK Government and Public Health England Guidance and are following their advice as the situation evolves. Our priority remains the wellbeing of our staff and the people we support.
In light of recent guidance, we have taken the decision to stop running clubs after next week, including Easter Scheme until further notice. We are putting contingency plans in place to be able to offer you support. In the next few days a member of staff will contact you in order to consult what support you need and we will make sure we are there for you as much as we possibly can through this difficult and uncertain time. Some of the plans we are putting in place include:
- Replacing club with 1:1 support where that is necessary/wanted and appropriate. That could take place at home.
- Setting up skype/video sessions for those adults we support who may find it useful.
- Setting up an emergency helpline for all parents/carers/users to ring us if you want to talk to someone, ask advice, ask for emergency support
- Food drops for families in quarantine
- A pack with useful strategies/resources (if we get funding) for supporting you support your child at home if schools close (particularly useful for Orange House parents)
In order to protect our users and our staff and keep our services running as much as possible we ask that, If anyone in your family is feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms you let us know.
It may seem obvious, but a few precautions can go a long way to stop germs from spreading. Here are some tips from the NHS:
Talking to your children about what is happening
We acknowledge that this advice may not be applicable to all but to some may be of help. If you are caring for a child or family member with autism, it’s important to talk with them about coronavirus to ensure they have the information they need, but without unnecessarily frightening them.
- Talk with your children before they hear about it elsewhere, so you can understand what they know and provide facts appropriate to their age and understanding.
- Communicate in a way that your child prefers, such as pictures or stories. Helpful guidance in the form of social story that we are using is attached.
- Allow your child to process the information. Perhaps read and repeat the flu story a few times to them.
- Attached is a washing hands guidance in a symbol format that could be put in the bathroom or carried round for help in public places.
- There is a great, free online tool that generates hand washing infographics based on your favourite song lyrics. You can find it here and attached is a poster.
- BBC Newsround has a number of videos around the topic to help young people understand the issue better.
Coronavirus: Dr Chris answers YOUR questions (BBC Newsround). You can find it here
We know full well that these times can be even more stressful for our children, young people and adults on the spectrum, who may find unknowns very unsettling. If you are worried that disruptions to our services will have a particularly detrimental effect, please get in touch to discuss concerns in more detail.
We care deeply about the wellbeing of our community and we are doing our utmost best to continue providing support to you during this period.