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Supporting a young man to increase his time spent in the community and build friendships

Actions and outcomes

B is a 25 year old man who has a diagnosis of autism. He currently lives at home with his parents in Carmarthen. Before B was referred into the service for support, he was increasingly isolating himself in his home and would only leave his house on very rare occasions. He had been in this situation for a number of years and his family and he were at breaking point. B had been accessing other services but due to a lack of engagement was typically discharged.


When I met B in the first appointment, he was very reserved, he was visually anxious and struggled to engage in conversation. We carried out a “Spectrum Star” together – an outcome measuring tool used to highlight an individual’s strengths and areas of difficulties where support would be needed.  The first priority area highlighted was to attempt to try and increase B’s time in the community. The second area of support highlighted was to support B with his social skills.


After a couple of weeks of interventions, B began to visually relax in my company and began accepting strategies to trial. Within a few weeks, he was going out with his mum in the car to supermarkets and on the rare occasions was even going into the store to purchase groceries. Providing coping strategies for B has empowered him to access venues that he would never have accessed before.


B then had the opportunity to attend the IAS Post Diagnostic Workshop. During the 4-week session he did not engage in conversation to begin with but expressed the validation he felt that other autistic individuals faced the same difficulties that he has. During session 3 and 4, he began initiating conversation with his peers and expressed sadness that the workshop had come to an end. In B’s words, “I really miss the PDW workshop, I looked forward to it every week.”


B now attends the Autism Forum in Carmarthen where he is a valued member of the group. He now makes his own arrangements to attend and engages with the other attendees – something he would never have done before. Whilst attending this forum, it was discovered that B had similar interests to a few of the other attendees who were a similar age to him, mainly football.


Since this was highlighted, B and two other young men created their own social group with support from myself and a fellow worker. They now meet up in the bowling alley once a month where they play pool and have a game of bowling. The conversation between all three participants flows and B is visually more comfortable. Not only does B attend the forum, a social group, and has attended the PDW, he now attends the gym once a week where he is working on building his self-esteem and self-identity.


B’s outlook on life has completely changed. He can now see that he has a future and is being given the appropriate support and “tools” needed so that he can successfully lead a fulfilled life. He feels more confident in himself and feedback from his parents have been amazing.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank your team for the work that you do. I feel this is a service that is so necessary for people on the Autism spectrum.

My son has learnt so much about himself in the short time that James has been involved with him.

Even though it is early days I feel confident now that we are going in the right direction following many years of disappointments from other services whom did not ‘quite’ understand.

The post diagnostic workshops were invaluable and B reports to ‘miss going’. Big thank you to James and Anwen and the participants.

Thanks to your service – we as a family are now looking forward to the future and to see B progressing further.

Big thank you to James Etheridge for your effort, professionalism and personality.”

Lessons Learned

With the correct support, goals can be achieved, and individuals’ lives can be improved and turned around.


Health Board:
Hwyel Dda University Health Board
Local Authority:
Integrated Autism Service:
West Wales IAS