We’ve been working towards reaching the high standards set by the National Autistic Society (NAS) that would qualify us as Autism Accredited. We had our assessment in May, and I’m delighted to say that we’ve passed!
Keesha Sinclair started us on our journey three years ago, and after she left, Mikayla Mighton took over as our autism champion. We’ve made changes in every part of Share, from making our environment less cluttered and brighter, with comfy quiet spaces, through to making sure our communication is accessible and autism friendly. We’re using technology to aid our students, whether by having a talking pen that will tell you what’s for lunch, or by creating social stories on iPads to plan for change. I’m incredibly proud of the team here: they’ve worked so hard to make Share as welcoming and accessible as possible to everyone. And I’m also incredibly proud of our students who help and advise, telling us what works – and what doesn’t!
Here are some highlights from the NAS assessment report:
- The environment and how this potentially impacts on student’s sensory experience is one of the most noticeable and positive changes achieved by Share since joining autism accreditation. There has been a huge drive to declutter the environment, find safe and calming spaces and providing easily accessible information and resources for the students to effectively access.
- The structure of Share provides a unique service offering a hub for social and emotional support whilst promoting independence and daily living skills, all of which are part of accredited courses providing students with a sense of purpose and achievement.
- Share have a dedicated wellbeing team who work tirelessly to advocate for the people they support. The staff have created a positive and safe environment for people to learn, enjoy friendships, increase independence and participate in leisure activities. The Go Anywhere, Do Anything project and the support of volunteers have all contributed to this.
Annie McDowall, Share Chief Executive