Autism Service: Plymouth Autism Team
We are really excited to launch our new Autism Service: Plymouth Autism Team. Here at Step Up we have been planning and developing this new autism service for several months. Our primary aim is to provide the support and knowledge parents need while navigating all things autism, including diagnosis and assessment. And many of the connected concerns about communication and development.
Welcome. Take a deep breath. You’re doing amazing!
If you’re reading these words the chances are, like so many other concerned parents, the last couple of years have been quite stressful. The effects of the Covid Pandemic have placed a great deal of strain on the NHS and current waiting lists for Autism Diagnosis Assessments are extremely high. We know this because we have seen a huge increase in contact from worried parents seeking support for their children.
How can we help?
Does any of this sound familiar?
“My child only uses a limited amount of words and phrases to communicate.”
“They don’t always respond to their name or requests to look at me when I need to ask them something.”
“My child’s ability to provide non-verbal communication, such as eye contact, has diminished over time.”
“My child prefers objects over people.”
“There's a skill my child used to have, but they seem to have lost it now.”
These are the kind of phrases parents are sharing with us on a daily basis.
So, how can we help?
We recently assessed Arlo at home. He engaged in lots of repetitive play alone and didn’t want anybody to join in. He mostly communicated his needs by crying and screaming. His parents were confused. They didn’t know what to do.
Arlo displayed so many of the problematic signs that raise concerns with worried parents. He had little interest in communicating with others. Reduced eye contact. Failing to respond to verbal cues including his own name. His parents needed help.
The role of the Plymouth Autism Team is to provide a clear breakdown and description of a child's communication skills and ability to interact with their surroundings. And most importantly, give your child the lifelong skills they need.
Access Point for Parents
By observing Arlo at home we were able to understand the things he liked. This provided an access point for his parents. A way into Arlo’s world. By aligning their intentions with his interests they were able to gain his trust.
They were no longer on the outside looking in.
By entering his world they guided him out into a more communicative environment that changed everything for them as a family. It was fantastic and emotional to see videos of Arlo giggling and saying ‘go’ as his Dad followed his instructions and blew bubbles for him. All the time laughing hysterically and then waiting for the next round.
Arlo’s parents were not only blown away by the practical changes in their relationship with him, but they told us how their bond had strengthened. The transformation from an unhappy, crying child to a happy laughing boy who responded to their interactions has completely changed their lives.
The Journey to an Autism Diagnosis
Here is something we’ve learnt from the parents we work with. The journey to an autism diagnosis is a slow process. It’s a turbulent experience with many emotional twists and turns along the way. And that’s just the paperwork and appointments!
But essentially what we’ve found is parents want support. Solutions. A way to help their child and themselves reconnect and communicate with each other in a more harmonious way.
We achieve this by supporting you online, at home, and in your child’s preschool or school setting. This provides your child with a variety of different environments to implement the new skills they will acquire as we develop a series of personalised activities for you and your child.
Together we’ll help your child develop the skills to interact with you and their peers plus:
Learn techniques to give them the best chance of talking.
Increase your child’s interaction attention span, social awareness and social motivation.
Support sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviour as well as utilising sensory communication aids, such as visual support and gestures, Makaton and the Picture Exchange Communication System.
Plymouth Autism Team: Our Services
What we do: We offer a Pre-diagnostic Assessment, stand-alone Clinical Reports when requested, Step Up to Speaking Sessions, and a Direct Intervention service. For further details about our Autism Services please follow the link at the bottom of the page or contact us directly here.