Cathy is a young woman with autism that presents in some challenging behaviours. She’s a little more than a year into her journey with Solutions Social Care, and we’ve loved having the chance to get to know her and see her progress.
Cathy is non-verbal and exhibits oral sensory seeking behaviour such as attempting to bite her hands or other objects; she also has auditory sensitivities and can become anxious and agitated in environments with multiple or loud sounds or voices. With any form of restraint an absolutely last resort, if such agitation occurs we try to soothe Cathy by reducing volume and limiting all verbal activity in her environment, whether directed at her or otherwise. One of Cathy’s goals is to be able to eat more independently, and we help with this through activities that improve fine motor skills such as using a fork; by using Makaton to remind her to sit down to eat; and by limiting sound and verbal interaction during mealtimes to aid her concentration.
We have found that Cathy thrives when we take an Intensive Interaction approach: we play, run around and dance with her, and mirror her vocalisations and movement. Since she responds well to rhythmic sound, we often offer her activities such as drumming or ball-games; however, her slightly limited attention span means that engagement with these can be short-lived. Her real favourite things are direct interaction with us, outdoors exercise – including at the trampoline park – and exploring her physical environment in general.
Despite the challenges she faces, Cathy is a delightful presence and has huge positive potential. We couldn’t be happier she has come to us, and we’re excited to help her make the most of her future.