By: Gheel  05/12/2011
Keywords: residential care, Autism Services, Residential Beds

Gheel Autism Services provides day services for 60 adults with autism in two day centres. The service includes two day centres, one on Milltown Road, Dublin 6 and the other is on Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3. While our residents are in the day centres they enjoy taking part in structured day activities which include vocational, social, community and leisure skills and personal time. More importantly, our day services allow people with autism to fulfil their lives in a way that meets their individual needs.

We provide a respite service to some of our day attenders who live at home because we recognise the need for carers to have the necessary time they might need for themselves and their family.

Gheel specialises in providing residential services in a personalised home-like atmosphere for our residents. Our residential service consists of 46 residential beds within seven houses and an apartment. Three of these houses are within the Fairview complex alongside the Day Centre. These have been purpose built and are surrounded by landscaped gardens. There are two traditional community houses on the North Circular Road which are within easy access to local amenities. There is a community house and apartment situated in Sandyford, which is on the south side of the city, near the Dublin Mountains. There is another community house in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. There are also single-person occupancy units, one situated in Maynooth and another in Killester, Dublin.
It is our aim to develop our services both qualitatively and quantitatively in conjunction with the Health Service Executive.

Staff teams are responsible for the care and welfare of the six residents who live in each house. Each team comprises of four staff, two male and two female, one of whom is the Social Care Leader who has overall responsibility for managing and organising the house. One male staff and one female staff are always on duty and work opposite their counterparts on the other shift.

Gheel Autism Services supports a number of individuals who are on the autistic spectrum to live an independent life in their own community home with the supports that meets their needs. Person Centred Planning (PCP) is the process that allows us to discover the needs, hopes and desires of each service user. As a result of the outcomes of the PCP process we can then tailor our service provision appropriately to meet their identified needs.

We offer a day programme to our adults in residential care and to others who are transported to and from their homes daily. Their ages range between 18 and 59 years. Programmed activities are individually planned providing a consistent, caring and compassionate environment. The day programme focus on the following areas: communication, arts & crafts, physical exercise, sensory awareness, horticulture, contract work, cookery & domestic skills, social community participation, recreational programme and personal time.

We offer the TEACCH approach in order to develop structure in the lives of our service users. The principles of this approach are individual tuition and adaptation of the environment using individual programmes based on regular assessment.

The majority of the residents living in these houses attend programmes in our day service during the day. Others are in educational classes or employment and return to their houses in the afternoon. The residents are encouraged to take responsibility for their home by taking part in household chores that help maintain their home. These include domestic activities such as room cleaning, laundry, table setting/clearing and food preparation. They are also encouraged to be involved in personal self-care programmes. Expectations of involvement in tasks are based on the level of the person's ability.

In our endeavour to offer new experiences to our residents, we provide holidays and breaks away as part of our leisure programme. We have gone to such places as England, France, Wales and various locations around Ireland. We also take part in such events as hiking, hostelling, adventure sports and Special Olympics.

We work in co-operation with Fás (a local authority service), who run a Community Employment Scheme that offers people the opportunity to return to the work place and/or gain work experience. Some of the residents here at Gheel take part in this scheme. We feel that it is a worthwhile and valued opportunity to gain work experience, social interaction and earn a wage.

The aim of our outreach service is to provide support and advice to individuals with an autistic spectrum disorder, their families and other agencies. We wish to share the knowledge and experience that we have gained since our conception in 1971.

It is Gheel's objective to promote and encourage scientific research based on best practice relating to people with an autistic spectrum disorder.
It is also our objective to educate and influence public opinion by presenting conferences, seminars and workshhops.

Keywords: Autism Services, Residential Beds, residential care,