Autism and learning disability, we’ve done the training, now what?

Dementia Care
January 5, 2023

Hannah Kelly, QCS Domiciliary Care Specialist, on how mandatory training in autism and learning disability can become part of your culture as a provider.

In recent months, supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability, especially within health and social care, has been making headlines, and rightly so.

In light of the Oliver McGowan campaign for better training and therefore understanding within health and social care, here at QCS we want to explore how this becomes embedded within the culture of a provider. We can all tick that training box and send staff on courses, but how do we know that it has made a difference? How can we measure the impact of that training?

Reflective training accounts

Following a training course or programme, staff can benefit from completing a reflective training record with their supervisor, considering what they have learned and exploring how they will apply this in their work. This can be done within a group, although you may find that some staff are more forthcoming in a one to one environment.

Observe your staff working

Working observations are a great way of assessing not only staff task-based capabilities but they are also a fantastic way of viewing how staff put their training and the company values/ethos into practice. You will be able to see exactly how staff respond to, and engage with, service users which can lead to identifying any significant areas for improvement, or the satisfaction of having developed a meaningful, values-led organisation that responds appropriately to people with autism.

Revisit the training

Aside from mandatory annual updates, revisit the training and lessons learned during staff supervision. Ask leading questions starting with ‘how’ or ‘why’? Avoid any questions that will result in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Engage with your service users and their families

Regularly review your service users and ask them how they feel about their care/support provision. Are their staff considerate, caring, empathetic and do they have understanding? Are they trained sufficiently in autism and do they have a deep enough awareness? Encourage family input as well if applicable.

Listen to staff

If you have staff who are struggling, listen, engage and collaborate to source a solution.

Don’t be afraid to lead the culture, have an open door

The best leaders are the ones that are available and approachable. It’s fine to ask someone to do something but is it fair to ask someone to do anything that you are not prepared to do yourself? Lead by example, educate yourself further. If your staff see your approach, they are more likely to follow how you behave and embed your company culture.

And finally…let’s all sing from the same hymn sheet

Do the training, do the work and engage the staff. Match the right staff to the right service users. Ensure all your staff have a basic understanding of autism and how it may present. Work together and be open minded in your approach to care delivery; that, in itself, results in a person-centred approach which will benefit everyone.

Further Information

Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism Launched

https://www.qcs.co.uk/oliver-mcgowan-mandatory-training-on-learning-disability-and-autism-launched/

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism – https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/learning-disability/current-projects/oliver-mcgowan-mandatory-training-learning-disability-autism

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