Autism Secure Service
Middlesbrough, TS4 3AF
Tel: 01642 837300
The Trust provides medium secure inpatient services for people with autism at Northdale, part of Ridgeway, Roseberry Park, Middlesbrough.
Specialist secure autism services
The environment in which people are cared for and managed is paramount to reducing risk and improving long term outcomes.
Within the forensic service we regularly see people whose risks can't be managed within a low secure environment because of the complexities of their autism, or who are in high secure settings with no specialist autism expertise provided.
These environments can result in an escalation of difficulties with a patient.
Due to the particular complexity in presentation of individuals with autism, such environments can results in an escalation of behaviour. People with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) need a highly specific, structured environment, managed by staff with autism expertise and where ASC awareness underpins their treatment and care pathway.
Our service provides that, creating a therapeutic environment which gives service users a high level of structure and predictability. There will be an emphasis on modelling and scaffolding of social interaction as well as offence specific work where required.
We have an autism pathway with an assessment process to assist in the understanding of each individual's needs and how their difficulties impact upon presentation. This allows treatment to be individualised to meet the needs of the service user using the wide skills of the multidisciplinary team.
The unit will provide treatment for male service users who:
- require medium secure accommodation
- have autism spectrum conditions
- display challenging and / or offending behaviours
- have a forensic history or are at risk of offending
A complete secure care pathway
Working alongside the other mental health, learning disability and forensic services offered by the trust, we’re able to offer a complete autism care pathway. Where required, service users can step-down into low secure specialist autism services, followed by rehabilitation in a community setting.
The autism secure psychology service
All patients are assessed by a member of the autism secure service psychology team.
The assessment starts within the first month of a hospital stay and takes three to six months to complete.
Psychology will assess what difficulties the patient is having and what is causing these difficulties, and develop ways to help the patient with them.
Autism secure psychology team
The team include a highly specialist clinical psychologist and a higher assistant psychologist.
Psychologists work in lots of different areas and have different names. Clinical psychologists:
- See people with a range of problems
- Work to reduce upset and increase wellbeing
- Are trained to deliver lots of different types of treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Can help patients talk about important issues and help them find a way forward.
They work in lots of different settings but you are most likely to find them in health settings like hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics. Sometimes they work in forensic settings too like this one.
A clinical psychologist within the autism secure service can deal with many problems including:
- Social difficulties
- Difficulties with change
- Addictive behaviours
- Brain injury.
A higher assistant psychologist within the autism secure service is someone who is training to become a psychologist. They have had training in psychology and they are can work with patients. They require further training and are closely supervised by a clinical psychologist.
What is psychology?
Psychology is the study of people:
- How they think
- How they act, react and interact with each other.
Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivations which are behind the things we do.
What do psychologists do?
Psychologists can help people talk about their problems. This is necessary to help patients understand the problems they have.
They can then offer psychological therapies that have been proved to help people with self-improvement.
Seeing a psychologist can be emotional. It might feel worse at the beginning but with help patients should start to feel better.
At times patients could be feeling very sad, angry, worried, scared or might not know how they feel. Psychologists can help them understand these feelings.
It might also feel upsetting to think about difficult things, but then working with a psychologist could help patients feel better.
Psychologists are a part of a care team and work with psychiatrists, junior doctors, social workers, nursing staff, occupational therapists, as well as speech and language therapists.
At times the psychologist will talk to other staff members who know a patient well, so that they can offer them the best care.
Working with psychologists
Psychologists use different ways of helping people.
Sometimes patients will talk to a psychologist about things that happened in the past, things that are happening now and what you hope for in the future.
Sometimes they will help patients to understand why they have difficult thoughts and feelings to give them the skills to cope in a positive and productive way, to avoid future hospital stays and reoffending.
The main ways patients work with the psychology team are:
- Individual sessions
- Group work with other patients on and off the ward.
Some of the treatment the psychology team can offer look at:
- Understanding diagnoses
- Developing problem solving skills
- Dealing with feelings
- Feeling good
- Coping with change
- Social difficulties and relationships
- Help with offending behaviours.
What happens when someone sees a psychologist?
A member of the psychology team will usually make an appointment to see the patient in a quiet room on their ward.
The psychologist will introduce themselves and tell the patient about the purpose of their visit. During the first appointment the psychologist will ask the patient questions or help them to complete some questionnaires. They will suggest the right treatment and make recommendations to the staff team.