New Uniform Policy Helps Adults With Autism In Shropshire

Staff at a Shropshire care service working with adults with autism and Asperger’s syndrome have introduced a new plain clothes ‘uniform’ policy to further support those who use its facilities.

Adelphi Care Services, based at Longbow Close in Shrewsbury, brought in the new standards of dress after it became apparent that some of its service users struggled with busy patterns on staff clothing.

Therefore, all those who work directly with those on the autistic spectrum at its residential and day care premises now only wear clothes with plain, block colours.

Kim Walshaw, area service manager, said the move was part of Adelphi Care Services ongoing commitment to ensure service users were in a low-stress environment.

“Sensory overload is relatively common in those with autism or Asperger’s and busy patterns on clothing can be a problem for some,” she said.

“It became apparent that a few of our service users struggled with staff wearing patterned clothing, even when it may have been just a fairly simple chequered shirt.

“So many different things can affect a person on the autistic spectrum that those without the condition wouldn’t even notice, whether they are sounds, smells, light, heat or, as in these, cases, patterns.

“It is all about working out what is causing the problem and then making simple changes or removing it. Good practice doesn’t have to mean major changes.”

Joe Kwaterski, business manager at Adelphi Care Services, added that it was not always obvious to many people what the problem might be but taking the time to find out often leads to great improvements in behaviour.

“One lady we worked with some time ago had a seven-year-old with autism who refused to keep his shoes or socks on. Whenever she put socks on, he would immediately take them off no matter what she did,” he said.

“Then one day, she rung me and said her son had only taken one sock off and kept the other one on. I asked her to go and check what was different about the sock he kept on and she noticed that it was inside out.

“Whereas most of us would barely notice the seam on the inside of our socks, her son struggled with the sensation of it against his skin. From that point on, she always put his socks on inside out and he didn’t take them off any more.”

Adelphi Care Services is an experienced provider of services for adults with autism, Asperger's and learning difficulties, operating residential homes in Shrewsbury and Wem, including the recently opened respite centre at Barra House in Wem.

In addition, some of the other services provided include ‘in-home’ help for those needing daily support or even just someone to accompany them out to the shops or for a doctor’s or other appointment, along with assistance to help those with the conditions attend leisure pursuits and activities.

For more information about Adelphi Care Services, visit www.adelphicareservices.co.uk or call  (01743) 465299. The organisation also has a new Twitter account @adelphicare.

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