THE North East Autism Society is proud to announce it has been recognised for its innovative approach to supporting service users with autism, without the need for physical interventions.

The British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) has accredited NEAS following a year of demonstrating its Positive Proactive Support techniques.

“Of all the awards and recognition that we receive, this is the one thing that makes me most proud,” said John Phillipson, Chief Executive of NEAS. “This accreditation means that we have been able to show that across the Society we put our service users first and we will do all we can on all occasions to make sure their wellbeing is considered first.

“I believe we are also the first organisation solely dedicated to autism to receive this accolade. It’s a huge achievement for NEAS.”
The BILD Accreditation Scheme is viewed as a clear indicator of a commitment to minimising the use of physical interventions and restraints and to the use of positive support approaches in the lives of people in our services.

NEAS has taken these recommendations one step further by changing Positive Behaviour Support to Positive Proactive Support (PPS).

John explained: “Some organisation learn to respond to the behaviour that challenges. Why not do everything we can to understand the individual so we can be proactive in supporting their needs. If we have a learner with us who would previously have been physically restrained, it’s our aim to record everything we can about that person. Is there a pattern? Are there any factors we can manage to minimise this? What is this person trying to say to us through this behaviour?

“PPS is about educating everyone at the Society to know as much about autism as possible so the person being cared for and supported is at the centre of everything we do. We don’t want a handful of experts, we want a workforce who all understand autism, who all believe in creating bespoke, person-centred approaches, so that the person with autism is happier, more settled and understood. If we do all of that – which is now standard practice at NEAS – we see huge reductions in the need to physically intervene.”

NEAS Positive Proactive Support Coaches

Implementing these new techniques means any controlled, safe, physical intervention is always a last resort – and even then it would only be used to ensure the service user isn’t likely to harm themselves.

“During the last two years we have actively trained our staff to use this accredited approach. We have strengthened support staff receive and made our management structures more robust. It would be foolish not to continue to be constantly vigilant when it comes to keeping people safe,” John said.

“Having very clear guidelines for staff has also been helpful from their point of view. It would be our hope that we will never have staff who step outside these guidelines, but because of this now-accredited approach, they do know what we expect and that we robustly manage this to make our services as safe and successful as we can.”

With significant improvement in the quality of life for each of our service users at the heart of the BILD accreditation scheme, The Society is understandably very proud of this achievement, and knows it wouldn’t be leading the way in autism provision without its dedicated workforce.

Director of Education, Chris Dempster, said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to all staff from all areas of the Society who have contributed to this process. This demonstrates our commitment to providing and developing person-centred support for every individual accessing our services. We will continue to develop positive and proactive strategies that promote physical and emotional wellbeing for the individual, which fully supports our ethos.”

The change from PBS (positive behaviour support) to the PPS model is now recognised by BILD and owned solely by the North East Autism Society.

Click here to find out more information about the BILD Accreditation Scheme