Getting the right support for a family new to Bristol

Before working with Autism Independence

H was born and raised in Somalia and came to Bristol in January 2023. H’s father was advised to visit Autism Independence to get support for his autistic son. H had never attended any type of educational setting. He also rarely went out in public due to young children making fun of him when he was younger.

H was up most of the night and all day, and so was getting little sleep. Mum also had to stay awake with H to keep him safe. H’s mum was struggling to cope. She was feeling stressed out and this was having a detrimental impact on her mental health.

The Transition to Adulthood team

H was referred to the Transition to Adulthood team. The family were facing multiple issues: no support for H, uncertainty around their immigration status, living in unsuitable accommodation and little or no benefits. The team’s first step was to support the family around immigration as the family had previously applied for temporary permission to stay in the UK and was waiting for a response. The family eventually obtained a ‘5 year limited to remain’ status granted by the Home Office.

With support from Autism Independence the family applied for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment for H. The team also helped the family get a Melatonin prescription for H to help him get to sleep. They also helped them to apply for for benefits, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Carers Allowance, Child Benefit and Universal Credit for the family.

A trip for the family to Gympanzees

Autism Independence made numerous visits to the family home to show the parents how to interact and play with H and offer emotional support as needed. When Autism Independence organised a family trip to Gympanzees H and his family went too.

This was H’s first public outing since arriving in England. It was a pleasure watching him enjoy himself. His parents were happy to see their only child interacting and playing with other children. It was also an opportunity for them to meet other families from the Somali community also experiencing caring for a young autistic person. They felt supported and understood.

Ongoing support for the family

H’s family signed a consent form giving the manager from our Transition to Adulthood team permission to act on their behalf. The family spoke very little English and did not understand the health and education system. She was able to bridge the communication gap between the family and the professionals.

Autism Independence supported the family to get an occupational therapist assessment and to have extra support with the CAMHS crisis team. The team continued to support the family with the EHCP process.

The EHCP was finalised in December 2023. The family also received confirmation of the chosen school placement. With advice and support from the team, they were able to meet H’s needs. Autism Independence will support the transition to school every step of the way. This was also added to the EHCP, which in turn meant that H was eligible for home to school transport.

The family received more good news in December 23 that they had been offered suitable permanent accommodation.

The impact of working with Autism Independence

The family now feel more confident and happier. They feel able to take H out on public transport and to try different activities. Mum is looking forward to starting an English speaking lessons (ESOL) as soon as H starts school.

The Transition to Adulthood team was able to support the family holistically. They are very proud of the progress H and his family have made.