Jubilee Court Receives Autism Award

Hello my name is Gwenne Coltman and I am the Autism Lead for Sun Healthcare.

I have worked in the world of autism for over 40 years now (I started young!!) working for the National Autistic Society (NAS), Local Charities, Local Authorities, Health Services and in the Private Sector. I am also a Registered Learning Disability Nurse. I am an active committee member for the Coalition of Senior Professionals working with People with Autism (CoSPPA) and in 2014 received recognition for my career in autism by the NAS by being nominated for their Life Time Achievement Award.

During my career, working in autism specific services, I have had positive experiences in working with The Autism Accreditation Programme. I am fortunate enough to have been involved from its conception in the early 1990’s when the Chairman CoSPPA met with the NAS Director of Services. They discussed setting up of a scheme that would establish and regulate autism standards of care and education for the NAS and their affiliated local societies.

I have embraced the programme by actively being involved in both sides of the Programme – that is working with services to gain Accreditation and working for the Accreditation Service both as a team member and a team leader in carrying out Accreditation audits over the UK for other services to gain status.

In 2016 Sun Healthcare was successful in attaining The Autism Accreditation Award and we are proud that this provides us with a quality seal and can give others peace of mind when choosing a service for themselves, a relative or friend.

So, what is the Autism Accreditation Programme?

It was established by The National Autistic Society (NAS) and its affiliated local societies, with support from the Department of Health.

Autism Accreditation has been the foundation upon which much of the successful expansion of quality services for people with autism has been built.

It provides an autism-specific quality assurance programme for over 500 organisations throughout the UK and across the globe: clients include local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, local autism societies and private companies.

The Programme works to improve the quality of provision for people with autism by:

  • providing a unified standard of excellence in both policy and practice
  • presenting a systematic framework for continuous self-examination and development
  • giving guidance and support to the services who use the programme so that they can meet the established criteria required for accredited status.

Why did Sun Healthcare choose the Accreditation programme?

It is the ethos of the Programme that mirrors our organisations values:

Autism Accreditation aims to set and encourage high standards of provision for people with autism based on a personalised model of support. While methods should be evidence-based and reflect what has been shown to have had positive outcomes for people with autism, the research has also shown that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and therefore it is essential that approaches are tailored for the individual.

Individuals are entitled to receive practical support if they require it to help them overcome the challenges they face in a society which very often fails to recognise or accommodate their needs. That support needs to be rooted in an understanding that autism is an integral part of who a person is, not a disorder to be treated or suppressed so that the person can present as more ‘normal’. Rather, support needs to work with a person’s autism.

Support should build upon the individual’s strengths, assets, interests and talents and enhance their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. It is not about doing things for the autistic person but rather providing them with the tools, skills and confidence to enable them to take control over their own lives. This process should start from their earliest years and should be the terms of reference by which the quality and impact of support is measured.

Excellent services for people with autism do not work in isolation but rather seek to share good practice to promote more inclusive communities.

Apportioned from NAS 2017 (web page)

The Autism Accreditation Programme compliments our own quality assurance process and assists in monitoring person centred effective, safe and responsive delivery of support to people with autism, their families and our dedicated staff team.

Thank you for reading this Blog and I hope it has been of interest.

Gwenne Coltman MA RNLD Cert TP.

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