North East NHS staff receive new training workshops designed and delivered by people with learning disabilities and/or autism

Posted: 14/11/18

A group of individuals with learning disabilities and autism have produced and delivered a new series of training workshops to NHS staff in the North East exploring the needs of children living with a learning disability, autism or both.

Sunderland People First presented three workshop sessions during October 2018 to around 45 staff from the Intensive Community Treatment Services (ICTS) team at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), a provider of mental health and disability services.

The workshops were both developed and delivered by people with learning disabilities, autism or both, and explored the needs of children, young people and families when in crisis, as well as communication needs and approaches on how best to engage with families. The training was designed and delivered in collaboration with the North East and Cumbria Transforming Care Partnership.

Topics covered during the sessions included tackling myths and stereotypes surrounding learning disability and autism, exploring behaviour through role play exercises and looking at the individual stories of the people presenting the training.

It was my first time delivering this type of training. I enjoyed sharing my story about what being in control and having choice really means. I felt that the team listened and took notice of what we said.

GavinTrainer from Sunderland People First

Delivering the training was thought provoking and challenging. It made me consider if the support we provide for children is always right for them.

MatthewTrainer from Sunderland People First

We want to open up conversations with service users, their families and the community to offer a tailored service rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This brilliant training delivered has given our staff realistic and practical advice from individuals who have lived experience of being young people with learning disabilities and autism.

Sam HoganICTS Team Manager at NTW

Through the workshops the Sunderland People First team have also produced an online resources guide for staff offering information on providing good support with children with a learning disability, autism or both.

The workshops are part of an ongoing programme of intensive training within NTW’s services for children and young people, centred on working closely in collaboration with service users, their families, other services such as social care and the wider community to better serve young people with complex needs.

The work is part of New Care Models, a national pilot scheme to give NHS Trusts more of a say over which services are provided locally and how they should be delivered. NTW’s aims under the scheme include providing care closer to home and reducing reliance on inpatient beds.

The partnership with Sunderland People First was set up by Julie Morrow, NTW’s New Care Models Clinical Lead.

As part of New Care Models we are keen to develop innovative ways of working with a focus on enhancing community services. Initiatives such as the staff training workshops enable us to support young people with a learning disability to remain in their local community and avoid inpatient admission.

Julie MorrowNew Care Models Clinical Lead

The ICTS team are working to enhance their services to children and young people with learning disabilities, autism or both, so that individuals can live in their homes in an unrestrictive way and where possible avoid being admitted to hospital. For individuals who are admitted to hospital the team aims to get them back home safe within their community as soon as they reasonably can.