A couple from Buckinghamshire have praised one of the South’s leading care and support providers, Radian Support, for improving the quality of the life of their autistic grown-up son. Ross Baker (37) barely left his bed for over a year, but now lives a full and varied life.
He now lives at The Trees, a beautiful, detached house in Drayton Parslow, Buckinghamshire, with support services run by award-winning Radian Support. There he enjoys daily activities, learns life skills and is much happier.
But three years ago he was living the lonely life of a virtual hermit at care accommodation in Gloucestershire, according to his retired parents, Daniel and Angela Baker, who live in Hyde Heath, Buckinghamshire.
Although when he first arrived in Gloucestershire in 1999 the home served him well for a decade, it then deteriorated over the next few years into one where managers came and went.
Ross’s autism went ignored by staff who did not recognise the cause of his sometimes challenging behaviour and who focused their attention on the variety of more demanding residents.
Daniel explained what happened next: “Due to Ross being left to his own devices he became very introverted and reclusive.
“Because he was not being stimulated, or indeed cared for, he became very lethargic and unhappy; so much so that for the last year he was living there he did not even leave the building and spent most of his life sitting on his bed.
“The quality of care was awful and the standard of cleanliness both regarding Ross and his surroundings were unacceptable. For example, he did not have a haircut for over a year!”
Daniel and Angela realised they needed to get Ross somewhere more suitable and it was through Buckinghamshire County Council’s care services that the Bakers were put in touch with Radian Support.
When Radian Support’s team got involved, they quickly understood Ross was autistic. Over a series of visits to Gloucestershire, his needs were assessed and the transition prepared so that Ross was ready to move to The Trees on October 24th 2011 – his father’s birthday.
The Trees has four bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom. Located in a quiet residential area, it is a genuine home to its residents – who are all on the autistic spectrum and benefit from Radian Support’s customer centred support.
Radian Support provides care and support services to over 500 adults across the south-east. People with learning disabilities, autism, mental health needs and older people are supported to lead fulfilling and independent lives.
Daniel added: “From the very first minute that Ross moved to The Trees, all the staff set about addressing his autism with great skill, compassion and knowledge.
“Since his move to The Trees, Ross has become a far more active, extrovert man. From Monday to Friday he has a full diary including horse riding, gym, swimming, trampoline activities, and other social pastimes.
“In addition, he is far more aware of many basic day to day processes such as banking, keeping his room clean and activities in the kitchen; and most importantly, his own personal hygiene requirements.”
Lameck Matare, Support Lead for Ross explained: “We don’t look at the disability, but look at the person and work on supporting what that person needs. In many other services, learning disability and autism are branded the same, so you may miss what the individual needs, which can be as simple as how a door opens or the colour of a room.”
The sensory overload Ross faced at his old home was replaced with relaxing routine, informed choices and the calming atmosphere reminiscent of a family unit. The strategies meant that within two months he was leaving the house to join in activities.
Since then he’s been taken to Paris on the Eurostar, enjoyed a week in Tenerife, and visited Bournemouth, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.
Daniel concluded: “It has become fundamentally clear to us that all the staff at Radian Support understand autism in general, and Ross’s personal needs in particular. Because his autism has been brought out in to the open and accepted, his personal requirements are being fully addressed, which in turn are being fixed. He is virtually becoming a new person but for the better!
“We are so impressed in Ross’s new-found confidence. This has changed his whole way of life giving him fulfilment he never had before. He has always been very loving to his family, but now he is extending his lovely personality elsewhere touching the lives of his house mates, the staff, and new people he comes into contact with. His future is certainly looking far more positive and radiant.”