I am going to focus this week’s blog on profiling Alderwood; the outstanding subsidiary of CMG which became part of our organisation just over a year ago. I have visited Alderwood services regularly in the year since they have been part of CMG and I never fail to be massively impressed by the work that they do. Alderwood support some of the most complex and challenging people with a diagnosis of Autism in the whole country and recently have been taking a number of people being discharged from hospital under the transforming care programme.
Whenever I visit Alderwood services, the staff are always hugely positive and motivated even if they have just experienced a very challenging incident and have been personally injured. The level of structure in place is quite exceptional; people have activity programmes broken down into every 15 minutes, which gives the people we support the security about what is happening in their lives that reduces the anxiety that can often lead to challenging behaviour. Any time I visit an Alderwood service, the activity for the individual is happening exactly as planned and on time. Alderwood also use a great deal of visual communication methods which work really well with many people with Autism and they have their own studio that designs bespoke visual tools for each person.
In CMG, as you know, we strongly emphasise social inclusion, particularly the importance of employment. Every single one of the people supported by Alderwood has a voluntary or paid job. Given that these are some of the most complicated people in the whole country, this is an amazing achievement.
I would like to finish with a brief case study of a young man who spent ten years in hospital settings. When he was living in hospital, he did very little and was heavily medicated. He very rarely saw his family. Now he sees his family regularly, has learnt skills like managing simple financial transactions, how to dress himself and plays an active part of the community including developing a real passion for football. He is a Chelsea supporter and recently went on a VIP tour of the Chelsea football ground. Last but not least, he was on a huge cocktail of medication which has now been significantly reduced.