Improving specialist support
'You can’t get more individual than Brain in Hand and the evidence information is invaluable. It is essential for a modern person-centred service.'
- Jane Howson, Autism East Midlands CEO
Autism East Midlands, a specialist charity providing support to hundreds of individuals with a range of complex needs, constantly strives to ensure that it is providing the best possible help to those who need them.
As part of a wider strategy to continue to develop a modern service, and to embed change at scale, the charity implemented Brain in Hand.
Seventy people from across fifteen sites were given the system, and staff trained to help them use it. The team selected individuals who were motivated to achieve goals relating to personal development and independence as the most likely candidates to see a real benefit from using Brain in Hand; together with their key worker, each user filled their personal Brain in Hand system with their schedule, reminders, problems, and solutions.
In some cases where the user had more complex needs, their support worker would access the system for them and help them to think about the strategies they'd developed together.
Autism East Midland's aims in introducing Brain in Hand included making stronger and simpler connections between service users and staff, as well as helping people to access support that would allow them to deal with problems without help; the team hoped that helping people to manage their own stress and anxiety could be an effective way to reduce the number of problem incidents.
Users have taken marked steps towards independence: some have been able to use public transport for the first time, others are now supported to attend work, and communication with supporters is more frequent and effective.
Staff, too, feel more confident; they're equipped with the ability to refer to Brain in Hand and use up-to-date information to pinpoint the best strategies to help each person. The ability to see how each person has coped over a period of time, and the problems that have caused the most anxiety, has meant that each person gets precisely the support they need at the right time - and this means that more serious incidents can be prevented before they happen.
Watch the BBC's report on how BiH is used in Autism East Midlands.