Tom* is 18. He left school at 16, where his autism was supported and has been out of work since then. He was diagnosed with autism when he was five years old.
Tom is unable to go out alone and feels very isolated. He spends the majority of his days playing video games. His mum is unable to leave him alone and whenever she leaves the house Tom needs to accompany her, together they attend all his appointments and visits.
What Prospects did
Tom joined the Work Programme and brought his mum with him when he met his personal adviser. Together they talked about what was holding Tom back and stopping him from progressing. Tom’s mum spoke about the previous support services Tom had received and how this was no longer available. She also explained how intense Tom’s needs are on a day to day basis.
Tom’s adviser took time to listen to both his mum and Tom. They set a number of achievable, but challenging, goals together to begin addressing some of Tom’s barriers to employment. These including stopping playing video games during the day, helping his mum with household talks and taking short trips out on his own.
Tom’s adviser ensured that both Tom and his mum were committed to achieving the goals set as each achievement would improve Tom’s overall confidence and self-esteem benefitting both mother and son.
Outcomes and results
Both Tom and his mum worked hard at tackling the challenges set in the first two weeks. At times they have been difficult but they persisting and are pleased with progress. Tom has left the house alone to visit the recycling centre each day and was able to travel by train to a nearby town with a friend.
Tom’s mum supported all of the challenges encouraging him and allowing him to get on with tasks alone, which she found difficult as she has spent so long assisting and protecting Tom.
Tom is now feeling very positive about the future and understands that both he and his mum must maintain the routine they are building. His adviser celebrated their achievements stressing it is early days and they must concentrate on maintaining the changes.
Tom is feeling more confident and his motivation is increasing. He is starting to take responsibility for himself and his life. His mother is very pleased with the progress made and is also enjoying the freedom.
Having completed work experience at school at Bovington Tank Museum Tom has now made a speculative approach to work part time with them. Tom is planning to increase his activity levels and continue going out on his own and friends.
Tom says: “In a short space of time I have been able to get out on my own. My confidence and motivation has improved and my mum and I are really pleased with our progress. I have changed my daily routine and I am getting up in the mornings and not playing on my gaming machine all day. I have made huge changes in a short space of time and am feeling much more positive about my future.”
* Not his real name