Autism Spectrum Conditions Support Team
The Bolton Autism Spectrum Conditions Support Team (ASC) provides post-diagnostic support for adults on the autism spectrum and is based at Bentley House in Bolton.
The service is aimed at adults (over 18 years) in Bolton. Our service users can be referred by their GP for assessment. Those who are then diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers are offered a package of short-term support, depending on need.
Service users are given a period of one-to-one support initially, which helps them to deal with current issues and difficulties. They are also offered the opportunity to attend a ten week post diagnostic support group, which assists in adjusting to the diagnosis, builds opportunity for social contact, and develops confidence.
Service users are also offered the opportunity to attend an eight week coping skills group, which is individually tailored to the service user and offers further education and skill development in understanding emotion, managing crises, dealing with anxiety, maintaining social skills and healthy relationships.
Service users who already have a diagnosis of autism and receive a mental health service can also access the support groups. ASC staff will work with mental health colleagues and co-ordinators to provide specialist support as needed in individual cases.
The team run a regular drop-in service locally. Current and discharged service users can access this monthly session in the town centre, which we deliver in conjunction with a local charity, Breaking Barriers North West. This service offers support, information and advice, as well as opportunity for meaningful social engagement, on an ongoing basis.
Staff are actively involved in delivering autism awareness training to other services and providers locally, and we do this in conjunction with adults with autism. We also work very closely with other organisations in Bolton, such as Bolton College, Bolton University, Job Centre Plus, housing and probation services.
We recognise that autism is a lifelong condition, requiring a flexible and individual-based approach, and our service users are involved at every level of service development and activities. Recent evaluations of the service have been extremely positive and we are constantly striving to establish innovative services that can positively improve the lives of adults with autism in the borough.