Stephen (not his real name) has a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and psychosis. He was referred to the Support & Recovery service, for help with social isolation.

One of the ways Stephen’s ASD presents itself, is that he has set routines which he doesn’t like deviating from. This presents a significant challenge when attempting to engage him in trying new activities and meeting new people. Stephen also finds it difficult to understand issues such as respecting personal space.

Despite these difficulties, after several months of receiving support from Sheffield Mind and building up a trusting relationship with his support worker, Stephen agreed to try doing some voluntary work. This began with his support worker taking a very active role in Stephen’s attendance, accompanying him to and from the activity each time and offering lots of encouragement to get there. Several weeks after starting the volunteering, Stephen progressed to meeting his worker there and getting himself home again afterwards.

Now, after his volunteering and his support session with Sheffield Mind has finished each week, Stephen also chooses to spend time in the local café before returning home. He enjoys this time spent out of his home environment and is well thought of by the staff who run the volunteer project.