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P15 The impact of the me, myself and autism programme on adult autism having access to the service, in terms of the benefits and challenges/issues they encounter
  1. Rana Amiri,
  2. Karen Giles,
  3. Jonathan Ling
  1. Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK

Abstract

Background Adults with autism face different issues, such as late diagnosis, social integration, social communication, disorientation, and finding a job. Preparing educational courses to improve social skills and independence could improve their quality of life. In this study, we evaluated a training course presented by Me, Myself and Autism to adults with autism in Sunderland.

Methods We applied a mixed methodology incorporating quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluate the programme from three different sources: the perspective of adults with autism, the staff standpoint, and a questionnaire to explore quantitatively the extent to which they felt the programme was worthwhile. For the quantitative element, we designed a questionnaire based on the Kirkpatrick evaluation model to evaluate the impact of training on reaction, knowledge, and behaviour and whether any change occurred for people with autism who participated in this educational programme.

For the qualitative evaluation, we conducted two focus groups, one with 13 adults with autism and one with nine staff working with them in the Me, Myself and Autism programme.

Results Data showed that the course successfully improved knowledge, positive reactions and behaviours. The three data sources showed it was a transformative course as people with autism learned to know themselves, accept their identity, develop self-advocacy skills, and develop more confidence and independence. Clients and staff both felt a sense of belonging and felt this programme was welcoming, friendly and non-judgmental, governing and teaching by people with autism. However, clients and staff both felt there were gaps in mainstream service provision for people with autism and that people with autism face multiple individual, social, environmental and employment challenges. The main issues are the unadjusted job environment on their demands, insufficient support for occupational and speech and language therapy and inadequate communication in health care settings.

Conclusion The result showed that although they were delighted with the programme, there should be some follow-ups or a drop-in session to strengthen the learning from the programme further.

Also, there is a gap in supporting people with autism, and more educational facilities and supportive training in occupational and speech and language therapy tailored to them are necessary. In addition, the work environment needs to be adjusted based on the needs of people with autism.

  • Me
  • Myself and Autism programme
  • adult autism
  • benefits/challenges

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