Instance of an unauthorised structure at an Aspect location
For immediate release - Sunday 4 October
Without qualification, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) condemns the use of illegal restraint when working with people on the autism spectrum. The whole concept is repugnant. This position has been reinforced repeatedly in practice within our services, the training of staff, and publicly.
Last week, The Age approached Aspect with questions about the presence, earlier this year, of a wooden structure at one of our locations. Adrian Ford, Aspect CEO, responded: “As soon as I was made aware of the presence of the structure, the site leader was directed to immediately arrange for the safe dismantling and removal of all materials from the site.”
Mr Ford explained that people with autism, at times, can experience challenges with overload from sensory input and may choose to remove themselves to a quiet, safe place. He said “The critical issue for carers is encouraging and supporting the person’s self-management by listening and being sensitive to the needs of the person with autism.”
However, Mr Ford continued that the structure referred to in an article published online by The Age on 4 October 2015, “was in no way, shape or form, suitable for its purpose; nor was it consistent with any of the approaches used by this organisation. I directed its immediate, safe removal. The structure was unfinished and never actually used by people with autism in our care.”
“I was impressed with the site leader’s actions to report the structure to us. We rely on the openness and transparency of staff.”
“The two employees identified as being responsible for the structure were immediately stood down by Aspect, pending a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding its construction. Both employees, who cooperated with the investigation at the time, no longer work for Aspect.”
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT
Visit the Aspect website at www.autismspectrum.org.au/pbs for details about the organisation’s evidence-informed practices.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest not-for-profit provider of services working with people on the autism spectrum and their families. Aspect delivers evidence-informed services and support including diagnostic assessments, early intervention programs, the world’s largest network of autism-specific schools and satellite classes, positive behaviour support, educational outreach, programs with adults, a parent support network, family and information services, and parent education and professional development workshops. Read more at www.autismspectrum.org.au
Formed in 1966, Aspect has a long history of working alongside people on the autism spectrum using a range of evidence-informed strategies to help them achieve their potential. Aspect staff are trained in the principles of Positive Behaviour Support and best practice for working with people who have a disability. Also, work health and safety compliance is of paramount importance to the not-for-profit organisation that supports almost 13,000 people each year and employs around 1000 staff.
National Director, Aspect Fundraising, Communications and Property