Overview

After a period of homelessness, Callum was referred to a supported living service with AFG in 2022. Due to his autism and Asperger’s syndrome he was initially antisocial, isolating himself in his room and refusing to engage with staff. He would not make his own meals, was not regularly showering or brushing his teeth and struggled to manage his weekly budget.

He required three insulin injections a day due to his blood sugar levels and was in the care of a diabetic nurse as he was unable to manage his condition. He would regularly abscond from service and not return in time for his injections, putting himself at risk of a medical emergency.  

Our approach

Person-centred approach

Callum was put at the heart of the decision making when it came to his support team, choosing which staff members he was most compatible with.

His team learned that structure and consistency were extremely important to him, so they ensured he was always aware of his weekly routine, who would be supporting him and what they would be doing and warn him of any changes to this routine. Staff built up communication methods and soon learnt that due to Callum’s diagnosis of autism, he needed information presenting to him in a specific way so that he could understand. They found that he presents himself as someone who can communicate and understand complex language, but actually needs things explaining very clearly, in simple terms, for him to be able to understand.

Building relationships and trust

Following this consistency of support and new communication methods being introduced, he began to trust his support team which meant they could work together on improving his daily living skills by co-creating menu planners and actively engaging with others. Callum has gone from being very isolated to forming meaningful relationships with others.

Managing finances

Following some initial incidents with overspending, Callum now plans his own budget and shares this with his support team, due to their newfound communication methods.

Support with medical condition

Callum was initially very resistant to discussing his diabetes due to feeling embarrassed about his condition and felt constrained by needing 3 insulin injections a day. He would regularly leave the service and miss his injections or isolate in his room when he needed medical attention, putting himself at risk. He also didn’t have a full understanding of his medical condition. Due to his autism and the way in which Callum presents himself, it was assumed he did understand but was choosing to not engage.

Recognising that freedom was important to him, his support team spent time explaining in a way that he could understand that using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) would allow him more freedom to manage his own condition. They showed him videos on how to use the device and talked it through with him in detail.

He now uses this to monitor his glucose levels and has had his daily injections reduced. With the support of his staff he has also been able to get a libra fitted where he can manage and read his own sugar level readings, instead of having to go home to test them. This has enabled Callum to gain a great level of independence which is extremely important for him.

Outcomes

Activities and friendships
Callum now enjoys going out for lunch and to football matches with friends in other nearby supported living services.

Discharge from learning disability nurse
Callum no longer neglects his own personal care, showering and cleaning his false teeth every day, as well as planning and preparing his own meals. Due to this progress, he has been discharged from his learning disability nurse.

Money management
Callum plans his budget for the week and shares this with staff.

Reduction in medication
Due to Callum now managing his own condition with a CGM, he has been able to reduce his insulin injections from 3 a day to 2, improving his quality of life.