Helping Tim

What was the person’s situation before working with Advocacy Focus?

Tim* was a 20-year-old male who was living at home with his mother and younger brother. Tim had a diagnosis of Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder. The Social Worker referred into advocacy as an anonymous call had been made to Lancashire County Council’s Safeguarding Team, stating that the caller had repeatedly heard Tim’s mother making threats towards Tim and ‘shouting and screaming’ and that Tim was then in turn also shouting and screaming and ‘smashing things up’. The caller stated that Tim looked unhappy whenever they saw him, but that Tim hardly ever left the house unless he was with his mother.

What did you do to help the person?

After thorough risk assessments I attended Tim’s family home and explained to Tim’s mother that I would need to speak to Tim privately and confidentially. I introduced myself to Tim and explained the reason for my visit and my role and asked him to tell me a bit about himself and his home life. Tim explained that things were ‘noisy’ and that his little brother ‘always did his head in’. I asked Tim about his relationship with his mother, and he stated that they ‘argued a lot’ because ‘mum is stressed’ and ‘has to cope with his little brother’, who had Learning Difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tim told me that he did not like ‘noisy places’ or ‘lots of people’ and that he spent most of his time playing computer games. I was able to identify some activities that Tim may like to do e.g., swimming, and that Tim felt quite isolated and did not have any friends apart from those he had met online (which led to a discussion about internet safety). Tim also said that he would like to spend more time with his mother ‘just the two of them’.

Following my meeting with Tim I also spoke to his mother, maintaining confidentiality, who stated that she had asked for help from social care as she was ‘struggling to cope’ with both Tim and his brother’s needs. Tim’s mother confirmed that the house was a ‘stressful house’ and that Tim could quite often become irritated by his younger brother’s needs and ‘noise’. Tim’s mother also said that she felt Tim was isolated and needed to interact with his peers but that she has been unsuccessful in encouraging him to do so. I discussed with Tim’s mother some of her rights e.g. a Carer’s Assessment and an Assessment of Need for Tim, and some of the things that could potentially be put in place for the family e.g. Direct payments for Tim, activities, and respite.

What was the outcome?

The safeguarding itself was partially substantiated and a social worker was allocated to the family, outside of the safeguarding team. A Needs Assessment was completed for Tim and a Carer’s Assessment for his mother, after which direct payments were being explored in order for Tim to have some support from a ‘carer’ to access the community and participate in activities he may enjoy. Tim’s younger brother was also provided with childcare, allowing Tim and his mother to spend some quality time together and for both Tim and his mother to ‘have a break’.

Tim was able to have more access to the community and to attend a day centre with support, allowing Tim to ‘make friends’, alongside spending quality time with his mother. This combatted Tim’s feelings of isolation as well as maintaining his independence by allowing him to be in control of the activities he would like to do.

The family were going through a stressful time with a lack of support in place. I was able to allow Tim the time and freedom to speak confidentially about his feelings and explore what he may like to do moving forward and what may improve the situation for the family.

Why was advocacy support so effective?

Although my role was to advocate for Tim and feedback his wishes and feelings, I was also able to provide his mother with information around her rights and possible options moving forward. By conversing with Tim and social services, I was able to support the family to access the support they required and to support Tim to explore his wishes and feelings and champion these. Having an advocate gave Tim confidence in expressing his views and realising that he has a voice and has a right to ask for help.

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