A resident at Autonomy Care in Wiltshire enjoying some cooking with her support worker
They say you learn something new every day and it is wonderful when you find a service or a provider that you didn’t realise existed. This is why I love my job, not only do Peter and I get to work and meet some incredible people, we are becoming part of the wider community in the world of SEN. 
I always knew that there would be gems of places or service providers all over the country, yet because they don’t have a large scale audience that most have they only are not always able to show what they have to offer. This means their brilliant idea, service or product can only be shared on a small or local scale. 
There are so many amazing products are not able to be showcased or accessed by those who need it. It is always the high end providers, who have the financial backing, that are able to advertise their products and services. This enables them to put high mark up on items and therefore they are able to make a huge profit cost. If you put the word disabled in front of an item, the the cost trebles. As an example, I purchased a remote control BB8 for George when he was little. He loved it, especially when it went off and made the carers jump! We managed to adapt the control ourselves so he could try to use it himself with some support.  
This was a birthday present and it cost around £89.00, it was the size of a small child, and I didn't mind the cost as it was a gift for a birthday! A few months later, I saw the same BB8 in a special needs catalogue when I was working in a special needs schools. The very same BB8 cost £399.00, all that was different was a slight adjustment to the remote control. The mark up cost is just ridiculous. We purchased it for a fraction of the price and was able to adapt at home with some everyday household items. How many other items are out there for a more affordable price?  
It is a real shame that families do not have a main hub or network for the world of special needs. This is probably due amount of different special needs there are. Or could be that some children and adults displaying multiple special needs, they don’t come under one tick box, making it harder to find something to suit. It is almost like we need a Google specialising in SEN. How amazing would that be!  
Even in the county I live in, I am still discovering new things within my own locality that I never knew existed and it is right on my doorstep. It is a shame that not all these activities or services are being accessed by those who really need it.The only way we can grow the network is sharing positive experiences with our local school communities and other support networks. Groups on Facebook can also help share a positive experience. 
The group I created on Facebook “All your special needs UK” was something I started in a hope to grow a wider community and to help support people with small businesses or ideas to promote their products. It has taken a little while to build up with the group now having 1.2k members. Ideally, I would love it grow bigger. I have an admiration for people that take the time to create or invent something for someone they love as an aid. To then share it with others who can have a benefit of their creation is fantastic. 
I myself have benefited from the group, finding an lady who makes the best bibs ever! I have brought bibs from Fledgings before and whilst they did an ok job, they are nothing like these ones this lady makes. Having a son like mine, who dribbles a lot she looked into all different materials and methods of making these bibs and found the best combination. I don’t get my bibs anywhere else now! Tried and tested with love and care is the best formula for me. 
This is definitely one of the reasons Peter and I started our business. Having a special needs son ourselves, we can use our own knowledge and experiences to provide a service to families that was tailor made to suit their needs and give them something to cherish. Our portfolio of schools and other special needs providers has really begun to grow. We want to continue growing and building our network.  
I have been thinking about creating a flyer to hand out to families of the schools we visit, to give them an opportunity to share with us anything that they may offer by way of services and ideas that we can make into a little booklet to hand out to our schools and service providers to try and grow our special needs community. What do you think? It would help give support to small business providers or services to share what they have to offer without having a big payout to advertise. Just one of my many ideas, that flow around my mind!  
Peter recently worked on a photography project which was something completely new and lovely to work on. Autonomy Care Group is a company who provides care for vulnerable people either in their own homes or at one of their residential services. 
Their care services are provided by three divisions, Autonomy Life, Autonomy Care and Autonomy Plus. Autonomy Life provides residential care for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. Autonomy Care provides domiciliary care services within individuals’ own homes and in the wider community and Autonomy Plus provides residential care for young people with learning disabilities and complex needs. 
They provide services in different areas of Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset and continue to expand and grow within the area and are looking to recruit more members of staff to add to their highly skilled and experience team. 
Peter was made to feel extremely welcomed by the staff and residents who even made him lunch for his busy two days taking photographs. The staff were brilliant with the residents and those who they care for in the community and the personal community feel was amazing to experience. 
This is a much needed service that most certainly needs to grow and develop around the country for more families with special needs loved ones who really need support and care. 
I find that adult respite care in general for special needs, in my area is something that needs to grow. Since George turned 18 and is no longer able to access social care, I have found nothing in the way of a respite provider in my area. There is a Council respite provider which only provides respite for those in social care but it only has the capacity to take two residents a night! 
However, in my personal experience in general, I have found that adult services for SEN seem to be few and far between. Maybe it is just the area I live in, or perhaps I do have something but I just haven’t been able to see it advertised or noticed it. 
Do you know of any adult services in your local area that you would like to share on our website? 
Do you provide a wonderful service or product that you would love to share with our community? 
I would love to hear from you and I will be happy to post, promote or help you with service or product! 
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