Aspens specialist support service is a comprehensive, professional, high-quality positive behaviour support (PBS) provision for parents and carers of children and young people with ASC and related conditions who demonstrate challenging behaviour.

The Aspens specialist approach

All behaviour, including challenging behaviour, happens for a reason - understanding what this is can suggest how to make sure the person has access to the things they need in other ways.  PBS uses the principles and procedures from behaviour analysis to assess and support skills teaching and behaviour change PBS bases decisions on data gathered about a person’s skills, behaviour, and needs.  A functional assessment helps to identify the reasons for a person’s behaviour and is used to create a clear and structured plan of action. 

How to access specialist support

Specialist support package is a costed service. 

£250.00—Behaviour and Skills Assessment, followed by a Behaviour Intervention Plan

£80.00 per specialist intervention session—inclusive of preparation, cost of travel, mileage and expenses

A package can be commissioned by a county council, education, social care, CAMHS or privately funded i.e. direct payments, PIP, DLA.

Referrals can come from a parent/carer or a professional involved with the child or young person. Following receipt of a referral, it may be necessary for someone to carry out a provisional needs assessment.

Areas we cover – West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and Kent.

Specialist support provision

The Behaviour and Skills Assessment lasts approximately 2 hours.  The assessment is carried out by one of our behaviour specialists and usually takes place in the home with the parent or carer.  The assessment enables us to understand different behaviours and tailor strategies for the child/young persons skills development.  The child/young person can be present if they can manage but it isn't essential. 

A PBS Plan is then written according to the child/young person’s needs. This is a working document which outlines strategies and guidance for families to apply alongside their SIA session. A block of sessions will be agreed in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the Behaviour Intervention Plan. A minimum of 6 sessions must be commissioned.  Some families may require a longer-term intervention.  Regular reviews will take place every 6 weeks.  The SIA sessions will work through the specific targets set out in the PBS plan.

Waiting list

Due to the high demands of the specialist support service the waiting list for a Behaviour and Skills Assessment is currently 10-12 weeks.  Once the assessment is complete the child/young person is added to the waiting list for 1:1 support with SIA.  This can take up to 4-6 weeks, once the PBS Plan is complete.  Funding must be in place before an individual is added to our waiting list for specialist support.

Meet the specialist support team

Penny Piggott is the head of family and specialist support.  Penny has over 20 years’ experience working with ASC, children and adults. She has a background in Social Science with extended studies in Applied Behaviour Analysis.  Penny has a Masters with a distinction in Applied Behavioural Analysis from Queens University. Penny is a Positive Behaviour Support coach with BILD. Penny has delivered training to numerous schools, colleges, residential services, parents and a number of agencies.

“I love sharing my passion for teaching others the importance of understanding why different behaviours happen, strategies that can help and empowering individuals to make a difference.”

Behaviour specialist Lucy Russell has a degree in Occupational Therapy and a Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Queens University, Belfast. She has a special interest and experience in working with children and adults with ASC and is also a trained ABA tutor. Lucy has extensive experience working with children and young adults with additional mental health difficulties. Lucy has delivered in-house training, external training to nurseries, schools, businesses and NHS teams.

“Training is such an important part of professional development. I have always enjoyed going on training courses and it is such a privilege to be able to deliver training and share my own knowledge and passion in the areas of practical support, sensory experiences and social skills”

Behaviour specialist Chris Foster has 19 years’ experience working with adults and children with ASC intellectual disabilities. Chris has managed numerous services, from residential to day activities, and has facilitated Asperger Support and drama therapy groups. He has six years’ experience of working in a mainstream primary school, where he worked with children requiring specialist educational support on a voluntary basis. He has provided training, talks and workshops for schools, other professionals and parents/ carers, covering a wide range of topics including ASC awareness and strategies, gaming and addiction, communication and anxiety. Chris has a Post Graduate Diploma in Autism from The Tizard Centre and he is a Positive Behaviour Support Coach. Chris specialises in anxiety.

“In prioritising communication, we immediately improve an individual’s quality of life, and we can relieve the frustration and anxiety of wanting to understand and be understood.”

Behaviour specialist Amelia Wilton has over 20 years’ experience working with children and young people with complex needs and she specialises in working with people who are on the Autistic spectrum. Amelia is a specialist nursery nurse with a focus on child development and she works closely with parents and carers to help them implement strategies that will promote development and communication. She also delivers Autism spectrum- specific training to parents and professionals.

“I have a particular interest in speech, language and communication. I enjoy empowering children and young people by using augmentative and alternative communication systems.”

The behaviour specialists are complimented by a team of fantastic specialist intervention advisors; Cathryn Tinker, Kelsey Hutchinson, Jo Holland, Olivia Taylor and Rosie Lemon.