Dame Stephanie founded Autism at Kingwood the charity in 1994 to support her autistic son Giles, removing him from a psychiatric hospital and into an ordinary home where he was supported by caring people who, for the first time, enabled him to make his own choices about his life.
This core person-centred value holds true today and the charity provides support for over 130 people throughout the Thames Valley. Many people supported by Autism at Kingwood have complex needs with an additional learning disability and need 24 hour provision in a supported living house. Other people helped by Autism at Kingwood need a certain number of 'outreach' hours of support each week, to help them live more independently and to provide practical help with shopping, appointments or to access their community, for example.
Additionally, Autism at Kingwood employs a Psychology & Practice Team, which provides one-to-one support to individuals, typically to those with high functioning autism who may have associated mental health issues. The charity also delivers the Oxfordshire Adult Autism Diagnosis Service on behalf of Oxfordshire Health.
To help enhance the lives of those they help, the charity provides a range of meaningful and developmental activities, including social clubs, therapy with dogs and horticultural projects, as well as organised days out and much loved parties!
Autism at Kingwood has an excellent reputation both regionally and in the autism sector for, as Steve says: 'providing creative solutions for complex situations and importantly, for persevering when other services have failed'.
The charity is approached by local authorities and parents for help to support vulnerable adults who may otherwise be facing hospital admission. Autism at Kingwood is increasingly recognised as the charity that can help autistic people with highly challenging behaviours and the charity is committed to work with those who may be considered more challenging, more demanding, have greater communication difficulties: those for whom traditional services don't work. Autism at Kingwood won the Oxfordshire Adult Care Partnership's Care Provider of the Year Award in 2020.