Scottish Autism statement on coronavirus
Following the First Minister's announcement on the easing of lockdown restrictions on 28th May, Scottish Autism has started to re-open many of our day opportunities. Although most of our service support is essential and has continued to be delivered during lockdown within people's own homes, we had to close most of our day opportunities on 23rd March and instead provide 1:1 support in different environments or virtually. The re-starting of day opportunities won’t look as it did before, but it will enable us to provide essential day support to those individuals and families that are most vulnerable or who have lacked support during the lockdown period.
There has been extensive planning at service and individual level to allow this to happen and we have adapted the support environments to enable safe social distancing and practices. Re-starting of each service will be very gradual and staged, with families and guardians involved in the risk assessment and planning process and with the wellbeing of our supported people and staff at the heart of all decisions. We will continue to re-introduce day opportunities as and when we can.
Makers Cafe, Café Kudos and Gartinny Nurseries remain closed until further notice. New Struan School also remains closed and parents, staff and pupils will be notified soon in relation to the phased re-opening of the school. The education team at the school can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org to support pupils and families during this uncertain time.
All office based staff will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future in line with Government guidance.
This is an evolving situation and we are continually monitoring and assessing information from the World Health Organisation and the Scottish Government.
Those we support, their families, local authorities and involved professionals will continue to be updated in relation to any changes to local services that may affect them. If you have a service enquiry please don’t hesitate to contact us on our main line at 01259 720044.
Life right now, is particularly challenging and stressful for many autistic people and their families. That’s why over the coming weeks we will be developing more information resources and virtual events to provide as much practical and emotional support as we can, during this challenging time.
On Thursday 9th April at 8.30pm we will run a free live event called Autism Advice Live. Prior to the event, we are asking autistic individuals and their families to send us their questions around what challenges they are facing during COVID-19.
In response to the most recent UK and Scottish Governments official guidance around COVID-19 on 23rd March 2020, Scottish Autism have made the careful decision to change the way we operate.The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and individuals we support is our priority and we have made some temporary changes to our service provision. Whilst our residential and home support services continue to be fully resourced, our day and outreach services across Scotland will be temporarily suspended. Where possible, reduced services will run and delivery may be different as we focus on delivering the most critical services at this time. All those we support, family members and involved professionals have been informed of the relevant changes. We will continue to review the situation and do our best to re-introduce services as and when we can. With some services suspended we would ask that any service enquiries are directed to our main line at 01259 720044.
Staff are being redeployed to support the operation of essential services. Therefore the autism advisors will be unable to answer calls to our Advice Line, but can respond to emails. If you wish to contact one of our advisors please send an e-mail to the team at email@example.com. If you would prefer a call back, please request this and provide your contact information. Please note that it might take slightly longer for an advisor to respond to your enquiry.
Makers Cafe and Café Kudos will be closed as of Wednesday 17th March 2020 until further notice. This is in response to the most recent UK and Scottish Governments official guidance around COVID-19.
Gartinny Nurseries will also be closed for the foreseeable future to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff.
New Struan School will close on Thursday 19th March at 3pm until further notice. The education team will be contactable to support pupils and families during this uncertain time.
This is an evolving situation and we are continually monitoring and assessing information from the WHO and the UK and Scottish Governments
We release a statement:
Commenting on the evolving coronavirus pandemic, Dorry McLaughlin, Chief Executive at Scottish Autism, said: “As a charity that provides support and services for autistic people and their families in communities throughout Scotland, we believe it is essential to introduce measures aimed at minimising the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This includes making hand sanitisers available across all of our services and providing thermometers for all staff so they can monitor the temperatures of those we support as well as our colleagues should they have any health-related concerns.
“We have asked staff members to avoid attending public events in large groups to reduce the risk of several colleagues becoming infected and off their work simultaneously. Following the excellent advice available via NHS Inform, we are asking any colleagues who have developed a cough or fever in the past seven days to self-isolate for seven days. We have also reminded all colleagues of the Government health guidelines around Coronavirus, notably about hand-washing and the 111 emergency hotline.
“By introducing these precautionary measures, Scottish Autism aims to continue delivering services and support across the country as usual. Carefully following NHS and Government advice, we will be keeping colleagues, those we support and their families updated with new information on the situation as it emerges.
“At what is becoming an increasingly anxious time for many, we will continue to do everything we can to keep our staff, the people we support and other stakeholders as safe as possible.”