Sensory Overload: Doncaster care home staff experience how people with autism view the world

Staff at RMBI Care Co. Home Harry Priestly House, in Thorne took part in a virtual reality simulation to experience what life is like for those with autism.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 12:30 pm

The Virtual Autism Tour recently arrived at the care home for a one-off training session, in which staff members had the opportunity to get on the Autism Bus and experience what it feels like to live with autism.

The tours are designed to strengthen skills to care for and support their residents living with autism and dementia.

Shelley Bogan, a shift leader at Harry Priestley House who went on the Autism Bus, said: “It was an emotional experience. It gave me a much better insight of what day to day life can be like for our residents living with autism and the challenges that face them.”

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RMBI Home Harry Priestley House shift leaders Melanie Hough and Shelley Bogan with the Autism Bus
RMBI Home Harry Priestley House shift leaders Melanie Hough and Shelley Bogan with the Autism Bus

Those who know somebody who is autistic often wonder what it is like to be in their shoes.

The Autism Reality Experience give people a taste of what it is like to live with autism.

It gets people to complete simple tasks whilst they are distracted by flashing lights, noises, different smells and textures.

The experience mimics what it is like when somebody has too much sensory stimuli, making it difficult for them to manage day to day things.

Shift leaders Melanie Hough and Shelley Bogan inside the Autism Bus, wearing headsets, glasses and gloves to alter her perception and be transported into the sensory experience.jpg

They can then gain empathy for the problems autistic people have with processing sensory stimulation.

While on the bus, the staff wore headsets, glasses and gloves to alter their perception and be transported into the sensory experience of people living with autism, who are often trying to function in an environment that is difficult for them to connect to.

Afterwards, they attended a session where they shared their thoughts and brainstormed about how they can improve their support to the residents at the Home.

The training opportunity, provided by Training2care, was made possible following a donation from the Jubilee Masters Centenary Trust.

Russell Race, Chairman of the Trustees, said: “The Trust had in mind to support RMBI Care Co. from its beginning. For us, the most important thing is that the staff receive the very best training, and we know the training of the Home’s staff in autism is specially relevant.”