At AutismAble, we believe that the most effective services are those designed not just for, but with the people they are intended to support.
This belief underpins our commitment to co-creation, a collaborative process where service users, parents, carers, and professionals come together to design and shape our services. This approach ensures that our services are not only responsive but also truly representative of the needs and aspirations of our neurodivergent community.
The Essence of Co-Creation
Co-creation at AutismAble is about harnessing the collective needs and existing knowledge of our community. It’s a process where ideas, experiences, and expectations are shared and respected equally.
By actively involving our service users in decision-making, we ensure that our services are not just inclusive but also empowering.
Theory of Change Workshop
Every four years, AutismAble conducts Theory of Change workshops. Click here to read about our latest Theory of Change Workshop.
These workshops are pivotal to our strategic planning, map out the long-term goals and the necessary steps to achieve them.
During these sessions, participants – including service users, staff, and stakeholders – collaboratively identify the desired outcomes of our services and brainstorm the best approaches to reach these goals. It’s a process that acknowledges the dynamic nature of our work and adapts to evolving needs.
Regular Learner Voice Meetings
Our commitment to co-creation is also evident in our regular learner voice meetings. These meetings are forums where participants in our programmes can share their feedback, suggest improvements, and voice their concerns. Our Member Voice Representative actively collects this feedback during these meetings and takes it back to our board members. This helps translate their insights into actionable steps to enhance the quality of service, ensuring it remains relevant and effective.
Young Persons Steering Group
The Young Persons Steering Group is a testament to our belief in the leadership potential of our members. Led by a lead member, this group plays a crucial role in representing the collective voice of our younger participants. They bring suggestions and insights from the group directly into management meetings and to our governing board, ensuring that the voices of our younger members are heard at the highest levels.
We ensure the decisions they make are meaningful and impactful. For example, they played a pivotal role in the planned development and renovations at our premises on Fowler Street. The group collaborated with architects, providing valuable input on what they wanted the building to become and expressing what aspects were important to them. This hands-on involvement reflects our commitment to ensuring that the decisions affecting our community are made collectively, creating ownership and inclusivity in every aspect of our growth and development.
Neurodivergent Representation on Our Governing Board
Inclusion is at the heart of our governance. By having neurodivergent members on our governing board, we ensure that the strategic direction of AutismAble is guided by the perspectives and experiences of those we serve. This representation is crucial for promoting a culture of understanding and respect for neurodiversity at every level of AutismAble.
Expanding the Horizon of Co-Creation
Looking forward, we are exploring more avenues to deepen our practice of co-creation:
- Digital Co-creation Platforms: We are currently working on a new website and online platform where we will leverage technology to create a new interactive forum, where service users can continuously contribute ideas and feedback.
- Community Workshops and Forums: We plan to host more frequent community events where service users, their families, and professionals can collaborate and co-design services.
- Peer-Led Initiatives: We are encouraging service users to lead and manage outreach projects, promoting ownership and empowerment.
Co-creation at AutismAble values and respects the voice of every individual in our community. It’s about building services that don’t just work for our community but are a product of their collective vision and creativity.