|The Mersey Care (Non-LD) ASD Service provide community-based services for adults with non-LD ASD (Asperger syndrome) diagnoses in the Merseyside region. The service provides services for those aged 18 and upwards. Asperger syndrome represents a neurological condition that affects the way people with the condition take in, store and use information. Asperger syndrome can also impact on the way people interact socially with others, and on sensory sensitivities. Our service provide both individual (1:1) and group interventions. Such interventions offer awareness and acceptance for people with Asperger syndrome and their families from both professionals and the wider community. The teams provide assessment and diagnosis; advocacy; crisis intervention; support to access other specialist services; support to access social groups; provision of support into mainstream / established services; and support with transitions from Child and Adolescent to Adult services.|
The Mersey Care (Non-LD) ASD Service operates as a ‘Managed Care Network’ where the service take on a co-ordinating role ensuring communication and continuity between services, allowing individuals to be referred into services within the network that most suits their needs. The service aims to provide a specialist support service for people with Asperger Syndrome, adopting a person-centred approach that assists individuals with the social and communication barriers that they may face in everyday life.
Support and guidance is offered for carers including regular awareness training, information and advice, contact with other carers and specialist support in caring for their relative, access to Community Carers Assessments if required, support to assist in the implementation of change and intervention, access to a named health professional, advice on benefits and sign posting to other relevant health services.
The service works with local services including schools and colleges, housing associations, primary healthcare services and other specialist mental health services, such as those for people involved in the criminal justice system and those receiving support form mental health and alcohol and substance misuse services. This approach promotes access to integrated health, social care and community services.
The service offers assessment and diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder), followed by post-diagnostic interventions which range from 1:1 clinical input (e.g. Clinical Psychology; Nursing; Occupational Therapy) and also group interventions (12 week post-diagnostic programme). The service also offers a Social Inclusion Hub which provides socialising and networking opportunities for our service users.
The Service works across Merseyside (Liverpool and Sefton) from two bases (one in Norris Green, Liverpool; one in Southport, Sefton) and whilst both teams are separately commissioned by Liverpool; Southport and Formby; and South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Groups resources are ‘shared / distributed’ across the footprint so as to enable the most appropriate resources to be targeted where there is most need (e.g. one Occupational Therapist works across the footprint where input is required). This enables the service to provide NICE-recommended standards of care for all those who access our services.
At the heart of our service is a commitment and passion for co-production. As such we have helped both develop and continue to support our service user representative group (‘Aspirience’ in Liverpool; ‘Aspect’ in Sefton) and our local Carers groups.
Aspirience is a service user led group who provide feedback and input to the running of the service. Aspirience’s members have lived experience of Asperger syndrome (AS) so offer a unique perspective. Their main objective is to educate and raise awareness of Asperger Syndrome in order to improve services for people with AS across Merseyside. Asperger service staff meet with Aspirience on a weekly basis, and our management team meet with the group once a month.
The Carers groups (Liverpool and Sefton) are two independent groups of carers who meet regularly in the capacity of both offering mutual support and understanding to each other, to lobby for the development of services across Merseyside for those with AS and their networks of support; and to work alongside the Asperger service and Aspirience to co-produce services.
The Asperger Service, Aspirience, and the Carers Support Group in Liverpool have together created the ‘Asperger Collective’ to develop initiatives that enable our service users and carers to shape and provide services themselves. One such service is our Drop-in service which provides information, training and a place to meet others with AS.
This co-produced collaboration also followed the principals of the Triangle of Care. The Drop In’s aim is to promote wellbeing, and to be a preventative intervention for mental health difficulties associated with Asperger’s, social isolation and carer burden consistent with Department of Health guidelines for service development. The Drop-In’s sustained high attendance suggests that it is meeting the needs of the attendees.