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Supporting an autistic woman to rebuild her relationship with her local church

Actions and outcomes

B is a 35-year-old woman who lives with her elderly parents in a small rural community. B had a diagnosis of autism but had received no post-diagnostic support. B was referred to the IAS in July 2018 and completed a Post Diagnostic Course.


B is not currently in employment but was very active within her local church. B became very socially isolated following the breakdown of her relationship with church elders and members. A series of incidents and misunderstandings occurred which B was not able to resolve. B felt she had been ‘cast out’ from the church and stopped attending. This exacerbated existing anxiety and depression symptoms resulting in a very low mood. In December 2018, B emailed a support worker in the service she had previous contact with, expressing suicidal and self-harm ideation.


The following interventions were put in place:

  • Attendance of the previously mentioned post-diagnostic course.
  • 1:1 support work.
  • Attendance of a SAFE (relationships group).
  • Confidence building.
  • Managing anxieties through use of five-point scale and mindfulness.
  • Liaison with church elders.
  • Develop daily living skills i.e. laundry and cooking.


The outcomes of these interventions were:

  • B is now able to do her laundry independently and is learning to cook.
  • B feels happier overall.
  • B is developing her social skills through attending coffee time at church.
  • B is able to manage her own physical health and independently liaise with her GP.
  • B re-established her relationship with the church, attending a church trip to Lourdes, a new church service, serving at the altar and singing in the choir.
  • B has increased in confidence demonstrated by: singing a solo in the choir, coping with a difficult situation and feeling comfortable doing so

B feels better equipped to manage any future mis-understandings.


Lessons Learned

With time and support, confidence and social communication skills are able to be improved significantly. Relationships are important to a sense of belonging, while improving confidence and social communication skills can help with navigating difficult situations and tensions in relationships.


Health Board:
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Local Authority:
Integrated Autism Service:
Gwent IAS