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A Social Enterprise providing community based support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism in the South West
Family Voices: Helen and Malcolm Brown

Family Voices: Helen and Malcolm Brown

04 May 2020

My two children are adults with autistic spectrum disorders supported by You First. I run a monthly support group for families affected by autistic spectrum disorders and in that capacity as I regard the company so highly, I have pointed many to You First for support for their loved ones.

The care provided by You First is centred round what is important to each individual, empowering them, helping them learn new skills and keeping them safe. My daughter rarely went out before coming to You First but she is now a successful Avon Rep, produces beautiful vegetables on her own allotment and has driven a tractor, something she had always wanted to do. My son’s interest in photography has grown so much he is now winning competitions as a member of a local photography club. Without trusting relationships with their Support Workers this would not have been possible.

My son and daughter were asked what characteristics they thought important in Support Workers they would like. Management then chose staff that would be most compatible with them based on their knowledge, qualifications and skills. If Support Workers need any specific training You First has no hesitation in providing it. Support Workers tell me they do not hesitate to discuss any matters that arise with their managers, who work so hard and skilfully to help.

You First involves both my children in decisions about their health needs and helps them stay well. After my son was told he was borderline diabetic he was accompanied by a Support Worker to weekly appointments with a Health Coach for dietary guidance. The Support Workers helped him to follow this through both in the food he bought and the way he cooked his meals. He is no longer pre-diabetic. When my daughter needed a wisdom tooth removed, management were so aware of her anxiety that they accompanied her to the pre-operation appointment and stayed with her on the operation day providing much needed reassurance. The measures taken by You First to keep those they support safe, keep very closely in contact with their staff through daily emails from two of the management and the Operational Director’s knowledge of the situation have been very reassuring during the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to my daughter coming to You First, she had numerous problems because her voice on her care was silenced. You First involves individuals being supported in decisions about their care and gives them as much choice and control as possible. Since she has been treated with such dignity and respect, she has now learned to trust both her Support Workers and management, helping immensely to improve her self-worth.

It has been so refreshing and reassuring that our parental views on our children’s care are listened to and we, as parents, have been able to team work with the organisation for the best of our offspring.

All of this has made a massive difference to the quality of both our children’s and our lives. We are very grateful to such a good support organisation.