Trafford Life Coaching Project for People with Autism Spectrum

Trafford Life Coaching Project for People
with Autism Spectrum Conditions
Why Life Coaching? what do we know about the difficulties
faced by people with autism?
Eligibility criteria for services – “the gap”
Social, psychological and economic
costs of ignoring the needs of people
with autism (National Audit office report 2009)
I Exist Survey 2008
Autism – a hidden disability core
difficulties often not understood.
(Autism Strategy 2010)
People with autism are more likely to
experience additional mental and
physical health problems
(You Need To Know- NAS 2010)
People with autism don’t always need or
want specialist services BUT they often
find it difficult to access mainstream
services (Autism Strategy 2010)
63% of adults with autism do not have the
support to meet their needs
60% of parents say that a lack of support
has led to higher support needs in the long
33% of adults with autism have experienced
severe mental health problems because of a
lack of support
15% of adults with autism have a full-time,
paid job.
A Funding Opportunity
Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust – Dragons Den Innovation
Fund – awarded £12,000 + £8,000 (additional funding from other GMW
Work with Trafford Centre for Independent Living to employ 2/3 life coaches
Day to day management through Trafford CIL, support and supervision
through GMW and CWP
Work with people who have received an autism diagnosis through Trafford’s
adult diagnostic pathway
What is Life Coaching?
The Trafford Life Coaching Project offers one to one support to individuals with
an Autism Spectrum Condition living in Trafford. Life Coaches will work with
people to identify individual goals and to support and empower them to move
towards achieving their goals:
Examples might include:
Support to understand and cope better with relationships
Support to manage and organise your time better
Help to identify goals in training or education
Aims of the Trafford Life Coaching Project
Achievement of personal goals
A greater sense of well being and achievement
Maintaining positive mental health
Reduction in crisis situations
Positive benefits for carers
Greater capacity with Trafford’s diagnostic service to move people on after
Increased ASC awareness and capacity within mainstream services
Better partnership working in Trafford
Trafford Life Coaching Project for people with Autism
Spectrum Conditions
Worked with 10 people following diagnosis through Trafford pathway
Initial getting to know you followed by 8 focused sessions
Work reviewed using spectrum star (further sessions negotiated)
Life Coaching work evaluated using:
– Carer questionnaire
– Spectrum Star
– Case study material
People accessing Life Coaching were also offered post diagnosis group (10
Family members affected by the diagnosis were also offered their own post
diagnosis group (2 sessions)
Andrew’s story
Andrew received a diagnosis of autism in his mid 30s. He works full time and has always lived with his
parents who offer lots of day to day help. Andrew’s family are concerned about his vulnerability and his
ability to look after himself without someone there to prompt and support. Andrew had a community
care assessment and was told that because he was supported by his parents and did not have a
learning disability, he was not FACS eligible.
Andrew is trying to come to terms with his late diagnosis. It has explained many of the difficulties he
has experienced throughout his life. He is socially isolated and desperately wants to develop
relationships and interests. In the longer term he would like to move out of the family home and
develop more independence, however, he knows he needs help to do this and is unsure where to
begin. Andrew wanted someone outside his family with whom he could talk about his goals and
aspirations. He also wanted a sounding board, someone to discuss the day to day difficulties he was
having in work and also someone to help him think about the future. Andrew needed someone to
advocate for him and to help him find his way around the different services that could help him.
Life coaching work initially focused on work with Andrew’s employer. Andrew was struggling with his
relationships in work. He felt that his colleagues misunderstood him and perhaps thought he was rude
or anti social. Andrew his life coach and a worker from ASGMA prepared a presentation on autism to
be shared with his colleagues. This explained things from Andrew’s point of view and also looked at
“reasonable adjustments” that could help him in the work setting. Andrew’s colleagues were positive
about this and some real steps have been taken towards supporting Andrew to feel happier in work.
The life coach has also supported Andrew to think about what he wants for the future. She has
introduced Andrew to a housing broker to discuss housing options. She has also arranged for another
community care assessment with a view to finding him more independent accommodation. Working
with the life coach has given Andrew the confidence to start to think about what he really wants and to
take some steps towards making this happen.
Luke’s story
Luke was diagnosed in his early 20s. He lives in a shared house with other young people. Luke has
had problems in his accommodation, he has experienced bullying by housemates, and has found the
stress of having to share his home very difficult. He has attempted to complain about this but the
housing provider did not understand about autism and blamed Luke for the problems.
Luke has had difficulties coming to terms with his identity following his diagnosis. He has a difficult
relationship with his family, as some of them have refused to accept that he has autism. Luke has also
had some bad experiences with his other relationships, and has felt rejected. This has led to feelings
of depression and low self worth. Luke has attempted suicide on more than one occasion.
Luke is struggling to cope with living independently he struggles to keep on top of day to day tasks. He
has specific difficulties with numeracy and finds it difficult to manage his finances without support. He
finds it difficult to engage with services and will often miss appointments. However, he referred himself
to the Life Coaching Project and has consistently accepted the support offered.
Life coaching working with Luke has focused on supporting him to understand his relationships,
supporting him to develop systems for budgeting, understanding money, supporting him to tackle
problems in his accommodation with landlord and co tenants. The life coach referred Luke to a
counselling service and supported the counsellor to understand more about autism. She also referred
Luke for a community care assessment, however, he was assessed as non FACS eligible. Like many
people with autism Luke has poor insight into his own difficulties. He found it difficult to engage with
the social care assessment process and to give a true picture of his day to day problems.
Much of the work has focused on liaising with other services and advocating for Luke with the housing
provider, the local authority the police and mental health and crisis teams. Some of this work has been
very positive particularly with the police. Their awareness of autism has increased and Luke has had a
positive experience of engaging with a service that he was previously afraid of.
Family experience
“The support offered to Josh through this
scheme has been/is amazing. It has
provided so much that we, as parents,
never could. It has brought a sense of
relief to me that he has been offered
such appropriate, relevant and valuable
advice and support from a third party.
The family spends so much time living
right on top of the problem and it is
nothing short of a relief to share the
issues and some of the answers with a
trained professional who can offer
dedicated time for a few hours a week”
“Attempts by us, his
parents to motivate him
have invariably
resulted in failure,
whereas he has now,
hopefully formed a
relationship with his
Life Coach in which he
IS becoming motivated
by her, at least, he
appears to complete
tasks she has set him,
as he does WANT and
APPRECIATE, the help
he is now being
George’s Story
What makes life coaching
•The coaches have an understanding of Autism
•The coaches don’t make assumptions about the persons needs or skills
•We had a more open referral criteria
•The support is person centred and flexible
•We allow more time per session
•The client has a consistent staff member to work with
•The staff have positive attitudes to Aspergers syndrome as a ‘hidden
Lessons learned
A small amount of support can make a huge difference to individuals and
A small amount of support can prevent crises and save money
Support needs to be non stigmatising and person centred.
Support needs to be offered in flexible ways at times to suit the individual
Knowledge of autism is essential
Partnership working is key
Life Coaching supports agencies as well as individuals
Life Coaching helps families to feel supported too
Life coaching Trafford - The future
Funding ends August 2014 – exploring funding options
Pilot demonstrates success
Work being replicated in Salford
Want to extend the work to people with an existing diagnosis
Could be a useful model for carers and people with other difficulties
Exploring ways of people being able to pay for life coaching with a personal
budget but also to continue to offer low level support to non FACS eligible

similar documents