Tim’s story

Tim was referred to Choice by the transitions team at his residential school as he approached the end of his placement there.

He had been excluded from another school in the past and lived in a four-bedroom property by himself, as it was felt that sharing with others would be unsafe. However, the high cost made this approach unsustainable and an alternative solution was needed as he entered adult services.

Tim is autistic, extremely ritualistic, can be highly destructive to his environment and aggressive towards his carers. He is also extremely intelligent, has great charisma, loves to socialise and is well liked by those supporting him.

It was felt that Tim would benefit from a single person annexe, giving him plenty of space and access to his own private garden. However, it was important not to isolate Tim as when settled, he likes to be around other people and it was important that he have opportunities to mix with his peers in a safe and controlled manner.

We therefore located the annexe on the site of a six-bedroom home where other young people of a similar level of need to Tim were living. It is also close to his family.

Tim’s annexe

This was built with reinforced walls and ceilings, carefully designed and located fixtures and fittings and a private garden with plenty of space  to burn off energy. We also included a number of entrance and exit points for staff if they needed to put some space between themselves and Tim when he became agitated..

Tim was initially assessed as requiring 2:1 support, 24 hours a day and 3:1 support when in the community. This was clearly highly costly and our commitment to the commissioning team is to help reduce these levels of support wherever possible.

Following a carefully planned transition, in which Tim’s school and family were fully involved, he moved into his new home. Our detailed recording of behavioural incidents helped us to understand when and why they were occurring and to identify any patterns.

At Tim’s 12-week review, we felt that we were ready to start reducing night time support and put in place a comprehensive plan and risk assessment to achieve this.

As well as involving Tim in designing his environment, other factors that have supported him in settling included:

  • having a team of staff he knows and trusts
  • using assistive and communication technology to ensure staff safety and giving us the opportunity to risk assess reduced support
  • the excellent “can do” attitude of the staff and management team supporting Tim

Tim is at the start of his adult life and has the potential to achieve a great deal as he continues to mature. We will continue to work with Tim, his family and funding authority to reduce his staffing levels, as and when safe to do so, and his progress so far gives us confidence that we will achieve this.