Choosing the right autism care home is difficult. Autism is a “spectrum disorder” meaning each person with autism shows different characteristics and symptoms. Some with autism are highly functioning individuals and can live at home with no ill-effects. These autistic people often go on to live productive, independent lives. However, there are many cases of autism where individuals need intense personal care in a facility setting for the duration of their lives.
Even those who do reside in autism care homes can often lead functioning lives outside the care home. They may be able to hold a job or participate in social activities. The type of autism care home should be based on the functional abilities of the autistic person.
Types of Autism Care Homes
There are many different types of autism care homes. These include:
Immediate Care Facilities
An Immediate Care Facility, ICF, is similar in nature to a hospital. 24-hour support is offered by trained physicians and nurses. In addition, those trained in behavioural services work with the autistic to provide basic living services. Services offered at an ICF autism home range from speech therapy to nutrition therapy and physical therapy. These homes are generally reserved for those who cannot provide their own care.
Supervised Community Residences
Supervised Community Residences provide housing and training for those who cannot be left alone. The services are 24-hour services. However, residents of this type of programme are encouraged to learn the skills needed to eventually live unaided. Skills taught may include fine motor skills, life skills, as well as interpersonal skills.
Residential Special Schools
Residential special schools provide both residential care as well as special schooling for autistic children. Most residential programmes that specialise in autism offer schooling outside the autism care home. Residential homes offer schooling for those who face emotional, physical and mental disabilities.
How to Choose the Right Autism Care Home
First, have a professional assessment from a social worker. The social worker can advise what type of home will best suit your autistic loved one. A social worker is prepared to advise whether or not the person in question will benefit most from a residential programme or an in-home programme.
Once the assessment is made, your social worker will provide you with information on autism care homes in your immediate area.
Other information to be considered:
- Location of the care home. Will you be able to visit as often as you’d like? – Does the care home meet all needs of the family, including religious or ethnic needs? – Does the autism care home adapt to the needs of the individual, or is the individual expected to adapt to the needs of the care home? – Are outings arranged and supervised? Will the individual be stimulated without being over-stimulated?
Finally, it is imperative when considering an autism care home that a recent inspection report be accessed and read. All autism care homes are regulated. Adult care homes are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Children care homes are regulated by Ofsted. Reports can be downloaded from the respective websites.