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We are keen to promote everything relating to Autism, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. The articles here will cover relevant stories, client and staff successes and conferences that are happening within Brookdale and the community.

For more information on any of these stories please contact us on info@brookdalecare.co.uk
My Successful Journey to Independence
I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 13.  At 22 I was clinically depressed, following two serious suicide attempts and three months in NHS psychiatric wards, I then walked through the doors of Milton Park Hospital.  I was sceptical, given my previous miserable experience of psychiatric care, why would this place be any different? However, at Milton Park I was pleasantly surprised.

This is a private hospital exclusively for patients on the autistic spectrum, at least we were all in the same boat and I was gradually able to develop a rapport and solid connection with some of the other patients. It is most important when people are struggling with Mental Health needs to keep them occupied! On a daily basis, there was an array of stimulating activities on offer. Ranging from 5 a side football, gym sessions to games nights which included bingo/quiz /karaoke and pool tournaments. We could also access the local town centre for a change of environment and different interactions such as swimming and ten pin bowling. I also joined the local hockey team.

I was assisted in the development of daily living skills. The cooking sessions I found to be particularly beneficial.  I was 23 years old and still couldn’t boil an egg. I guess I was like an astronaut as I just heated ready meals in a microwave. I found the staff to be extremely engaging and very patient. They showed me how to cook healthy but relatively simple meals. I discovered that I had the ability to cook all along, I just needed encouragement to instill confidence in the kitchen. My self-esteem levels increased when I could enjoy the results of my labour. I also learned about money management/budgeting; these are important skills which we must learn when making the transition into independent living.

The Psychology Department at Milton Park was truly outstanding and I cannot praise my psychologist Tiago Pinto enough, as he was instrumental in changing my life for the better. Over a number of years, I had seen many therapists who had absolutely no knowledge of autism, I clashed with them and found them to be of no benefit to me whatsoever. However, at Milton Park, for the first time in my life I met a professional who actually understood me. There were no barriers, no “them” and “us.” He judged me on my merits, not on this so-called label. This amazing individual taught me a strategy that transformed my life. He taught me about making positive choices in my life and I practised this strategy over the intervening months. Low and behold my life started to change for the better as together we managed to curb my impulsive nature. My psychologist helped me to understand that my poor decision making had negative consequences which in turn hindered my progression in life.  He believed in me and gradually his positivity transferred to me, raising my confidence and self-esteem levels.

I remained at Milton Park for 8 months. When I was discharged, I knew that I wanted to become an advocate to raise not just awareness but also acceptance of autistic spectrum conditions. I have developed and set up my own training company called Optimism in Autism.  I have spoken at various conferences on behalf of the National Autistic Society, the British Psychological Society and lectures at a University. I am a recipient of a Speaking of Difference Inspiring Young Speaker profile and I have spoken at the House of Commons for the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Autism. Once I started to have some optimism in my autism it can’t be coincidental that things in my life vastly improved. Currently I have my own flat and have recently become a father to a beautiful little girl. It is with great thanks to the wonderful and caring staff at Milton Park who helped shaped me into the man that I am today that I now enjoy my life and I am helping to make a difference for others.
 
Currently I have my own flat and have recently become the father of a beautiful little girl.  It is with great thanks to the wonderful and caring staff at Milton Park who helped shape me into the man that I am today, that I now enjoy my life and I am helping to make a difference for others.
Alex owner of Optimism in Autism training company
www.optimisminautism.co.uk

Alex will be speaking at our next conference to be held on 23rd November 2017
at The County Hotel, Chelmsford
For more information about this event, please email: events@tracscare.co.uk
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Read Katie's* successful journey through the Milton Park Care Pathway

At the age of 17, Katie* was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.  After Katie’s offer of a provisional University place, the pressure to return and complete her A levels is believed to have triggered a deterioration in her Mental Health.  


Katie was depressed with psychotic features, she had a history of self-harming, experienced tics and had an eating disorder.  Before coming to Milton Park, Katie overdosed twice and at one point she absconded and walked onto train tracks when the safety barriers were down.  This led to Katie being admitted to a NHS mainstream service that did not specialise in Autism.  

Katie’s Pathway to Independence

In February 2016 Katie was admitted to Elstow 1 which is Milton Park’s locked rehabilitation women’s service. Katie explained that at this point she did not understand Autism at all.
 
Whilst on Elstow 1, Katie engaged with Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry and the staff working with her. She received psychology sessions and psycho education which enabled her to gain insight into her diagnosis, how this affected her life and strategies to manage this. Occupational Therapy worked with her on making phone calls as this was an area she struggled with and she is now able to make phone calls confidently. Occupational Therapy also supported her with her sensory needs as this was an area of her Autism she hadn’t previously understood or known how to manage.  Katie said:  “Elstow 1 helped me achieve what I had wanted to when I was admitted and enabled me to progress and become ready to move into Pathway House”.
 
Pathway House is a residential care home on the site of Milton Park that enables patients to transition from a Mental Health hospital placement into community living and was the next step of Katie’s journey.
 
When Katie moved into Pathway House, she wanted to continue to build on her confidence, become more independent and get back into education. She has said that Pathway House helped with this as it provides more freedom and exposure to life experiences.
 
Katie’s big aim was going back into education and achieving her A levels so she could go to University. She was supported to gain confidence and experience with speaking with others, using public transport, answering emails and managing her own medication. She said: “Gaining these skills have made me become an adult and be more independent”.
 
Katie went to college to start her A levels, she feels that getting back into education changed her the most and that she realised she could do it with the right support.
 
Whilst at Pathway House Katie did suffer from a deterioration of her mental health and she experienced some psychosis.  She went back to Elstow 1 for a short stay to stabilise and receive the treatment she needed at the time.  With this support, she recovered quickly and returned to Pathway House within 2 weeks.
 
Katie completed her A levels and achieved two A stars and an A, which was a massive achievement. Katie has now started University and with support she has been able to move into the University student halls. She also attended the Tracscare Awards in April 2017 and presented the Best Autism Practice award on stage in front of almost 250 people.
  
* Name has been changed for confidentiality

When asked what Katie felt about her experience she said: 
 
Elstow 1 and Pathway House have helped me understand that Autism isn’t a negative thing, it’s just something you have to learn to manage.  Milton Park Therapeutic Campus made efforts to recognise what my dreams were, what I could achieve and helped me achieve these.  They made me realise that I am a person, not just a patient.
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The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards 2017 Winners
On Friday 14th July, over 650 people from the Learning Disabilities and Autism sector attended an evening of celebration at Birmingham’s ICC, for The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards 2017, hosted by TV personality Sally Phillips.

The purpose of the Awards is to celebrate excellence across the sector and pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work. Categories represented all areas of the sector, from frontline staff such as support workers and managers to people who have made an impact in other ways through training, breaking down barriers and best Autism practice.
 
Congratulations to all our finalists; Tiago, Ben, Adam, Kelly, Alan, Gayle and Victoria. To be a finalist is a fantastic achievement and is just a testament to all, how hard you have worked over the past year. It was brilliant to see you all getting the recognition you deserve.

A special congratulations goes to Tiago, Ben and Adam who won their categories;

The Great Autism Practice Award was awarded to Tiago Pinto who wowed the judges with his passion and excellent best practice.

The Positive Behaviour Support Award was presented to Ben Adkins and Adam Vincent, who won the judges over with passion, knowledge and dedication.

Tiago, Ben and Adam have made an outstanding contribution to improving the lives of people with Learning Disabilities and Autism. We thank you for your dedication and commitment. You are an inspiration to all.
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The National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2017 Finalists Announced

Tracscare has pleasure in announcing seven staff members have been announced as finalists in the forthcoming National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2017.

Organised by Care Talk, the Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisation who excel in providing quality care.

Kelly Pirotte Learning and Development Manager has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Trainer Award. Kelly is passionate about people and making a difference. She believes that by providing staff with the skills and knowledge to complete their roles, the people we support will benefit through the provision of the best possible support. Kelly is dedicated to the development of our people and has the belief that an investment in their professional development will create an environment and culture where our people are valued, recognised and retained. 

Victoria Hulstrom Deputy Manager, Milton Park has been shortlisted for the Learning Disability Nurse Award. Victoria always had a passion to improve the lives of others. During her A-Levels, she excelled at psychology and sociology which further peaked her interest in working with people and delivering better quality and outcomes. Victoria is an outstanding Nurse, she is supportive to all staff and continuously adopts new initiatives to improve standards and best practice for the people she supports at Milton Park Therapeutic Campus.
 

Tiago Pinto Head of Therapeutic Services, Milton Park, has been shortlisted in the category The Great Autism Practice Award​. Tiago is a Clinical Psychologist who found his specialism working with children, young people and adults with Autism. Since he started his career he has become fascinated with the range of Autism presentations and was always determined to devise the best support and appropriate interventions for each patient. He believes there is still a lot to do to raise more awareness in supporting autistic adults and consider therapeutic interventions to improve people’s lives and outcomes.

 

Gayle Woodcock, Quality Lead Milton Park, has been shortlisted in the category Managers Award. Gayle is Mental Health Nurse and Quality lead at Milton Park, she has extensive experience working with adults with Mental Health needs, Learning Disabilities and behaviours of concern. She is passionate about involving the people she supports in service development and has experience in practice development. In addition, Gayle is an Outcomes Star trainer, Positive Behaviour Coach and lead for the East of England National Recovery and Outcomes Project.​
 

Ben Adkins Behaviour Advisor, and Adam Vincent, Clinical Lead, have been shortlisted in the category Positive Behaviour Support Award. Ben and Adam are a dynamic duo who have a wealth of experience, having worked in Tracscare for many years. Trained in the positive principles of studio three behavioural management techniques, their role is to work collaboratively with staff to develop and review positive behaviour support plans and introduce proactive strategies. Working alongside staff teams, they support people at times of extreme challenge or crisis. This exceptional team also provide Studio 3 training courses for all Tracscare staff. The training is outcome focused, providing innovative and inspirational content. Their determination to make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities is evident. They are enthusiastic and willing to try alternative approaches, tailored to the needs of the individuals they support. 

Alan Wingle, Support Worker, Liverpool Supported Living, category Support Worker Award. Alan is a Senior Support Worker who has been supporting one autistic individual for many years, within a Supported Living setting.

Alan works in an Autism friendly way, he understands Autism and the impact that Autism has on the person he supports. Alan has grown in confidence and has implemented all the Autism friendly ideas into all his approaches. Alan works with the person he supports to help them learn about their autism and the impact it has on their lives. 


This is a fantastic achievement and is just a testament to all our finalists hard work over the past year. It is brilliant to see them all getting the recognition they deserve.

We would like to wish all our finalists the very best of luck at the awards. The Award ceremony will take place on Friday 14th July and will be hosted at the ICC Birmingham. We will keep you updated of the results of the awards and well done again all.

For more infromation about the awards, please click here.

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Successful Birmingham Autism Show 2017
Staff and people we support attended The Autism Show on 23rd to 24th June. This was a national event for Autism, which offered more information, help and advice on Autism than can be found anywhere else in the UK.

The day was spent attending informative workshops and networking with professionals, families and autistic people. At the Show, you could choose from over 100 hours of talks, clinics and workshops plus hundreds of specialist products and services were on offer, which could make a difference to the lives of autistic people.

Highlights

A person supported from Milton Park had his favourite booked signed by the Author.

Our very own Dr Tiago Pinto presented to over 120 attendees’ in the Theatre 2 workshop. His talk was entitled: "Female autism - Understanding adult autistic females and providing best therapeutic support'' 

Edward from Supported Living presented in the Theatre 1 workshop. Edward spoke about his personal experiences in Residential and Supported Living services. His talk was entitled: “How to be successful and achieve your goals: From being unemployed and in residential care to working full time and living independently”

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Dr Tiago Pinto to Present at the Autism Show in Birmingham 23rd to 24th June
The Autism Show Birmingham 2017 is fast approaching and we do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to see our very own Dr Tiago Pinto presenting. Tracscare will also be attending the event as exhibitors and will be located at stand A15a. Don't forget to come by and say hello!

Tiago's talk is entitled - "Female autism - Understanding adult autistic females and providing best therapeutic support'' He will be presenting at Theatre 2 on Friday 23rd June at 10.20 - 10.40 am. Tiago is a Clinical Psychologist and Head of Therapies at Milton Park 
Therapeutic Campus.
 

This national event for autism, offers more information, help and advice on autism (including Asperger syndrome) than can be found anywhere else in the UK. At The Autism Show you can choose from over 100 hours of talks, clinics and workshops plus hundreds of specialist products and services which can make an immediate difference to those you care, support or teach.

To book tickets for the Autism Show Please Click Here.
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Tracscare presents "A better understanding of females with Autism"
Tracscare are proud to present this fantasic event for World Autism Week 2017.


The "A better understanding of females with Autism" event takes place at the Bridge Chapel Centre, Heath Road, Liverpool, L19 4XR on Thursday 30th March 2017.

For more information, please download the poster by clicking HERE.

This is a free event and places are limited.  Please make sure that you take up a place booked, to be fair to those who will inevitibly be on the waiting list.

To book your place please contact sue.hatton@tracscare.co.uk
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Recruitment Event - 9th, 10th, 11th February

Are you looking for a job that truly makes a difference? Then become a support worker at Milton Park Therapeutic Campus in Wyboston.

We will be holding a recruitment event on the 9th, 10th and 11th February at Cathedral Square. Why not register your interest and send your CV to recruitment@brookdalecare.co.uk or call 0300 124 0117.

All training is provided with an average starting rate of £8.79 per hour, plus a £200* welcome bonus.

We also offer these fantastic benefits:

  • Competitive salary
  • Free bus service from central Bedford
  • Comprehensive induction
  • Leading ongoing training
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Health scheme
  • £200 Refer a friend scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Plus many more
The recruitment event is free to attend and is a fantastic opportunity for you to meet some of our team and find out why a career with us is so special.

For more information about Milton Park Therapeutic Campus please click here.

For more information about our other vacancies please take a look at www.brookdalecareers.co.uk, alternatively please contact us on 0300 124 0117.
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Dr Tiago Pinto Shortlisted as a Finalist in the Autism Professionals Awards 2017
Tiago is Presenting at The Autism Show Birmingham - 24th June imageWe are pleased to announce our very own Dr Tiago Pinto Clinical Psychologist and Head of Therapies at Milton Park Campus, Bedford, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the brand new Outstanding Healthcare Professional Award. This award recognises a healthcare professional who has made an exceptional contribution to the lives of autistic people. 

Image result for autism professionals awards 2017The Autism Professionals Awards are organised by the National Autistic Society and seek to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of professionals who are leading the way in innovative autism practice and making a real difference to the lives of autistic people in the UK.

Image result for royal hall harrogateTiago has made an exceptional contribution to the lives of the people he supports with Autism. His drive to improve standards, train others and measure outcomes is testament to his dedication and strength of character. He always strives to make the quality of a person's life as good as it can be for them. He never stops thinking about his role and the people he supports. Tiago is an inspirational role model to all and we would like to wish him the very best of luck at the awards!

The Awards will be presented to the winners at a prestigious Awards Dinner held on the first night of the National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference in Harrogate International Centre, Royal Hall, Tuesday 7th March 2017.

Autism Awards Finalists 2017
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ADOS-2 and ADI-R Training - Limited Spaces Available!
The next round of ADOS-2 and ADI-R training courses have now been scheduled and are available for people to book onto. 

The ADOS 2 training is split into 2 sections, one of 2 days and a second of 3 days at a later date. The next ADOS course will take place on the 14th and 15th March 2017, continuing on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of April 2017.
ADI-R Training takes place over 3 consecutive days. The next ADI-R course will take place on teh 13th, 14th and 15th of June. Training courses include hands-on practice with volunteer children, adolescents or adults with existing diagnoses, video codings, and role-play sessions.

The Training will be led by Tiago Pinto (Our Head of Therapeutic Services and Clinical Psychologist) who is recognised as an International trainer for both ADOS-2 and ADI-R and qualified to train professionals to use the diagnostic tools. Tiago has many years' experience using the tools and working with children and adults living with Autism. 

This training has limited spaces avaliable so book now! For more information on the training courses visit our training section or to book onto a course please email training@brookdalecare.co.uk or call 01480 470047.  
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