C is a 29-year-old man with Autism who has been resident at Claremont House since 2014. C has had very fixed and repetitive patterns of behaviour and these have greatly debilitated and frustrated him.
For instance, C needed to bulk buy the same amount of food items with every shop. So that is 10 tins of beans, 10 bananas, 10 tins of soup etc. But once one item is consumed, he needed to go to the supermarket to immediately replace it. This number obsession has been very exhausting and very time consuming for C.
When buying clothes, C would insist on buying vastly oversized items for himself. Generally these were two to three sizes too big. With all shopping in general, C wanted to hoard dozens of items of food and toiletries. These items would take up all the space in his flat and would often expire unused. Financially, this was draining him and left very little money for anything else, especially as C also smoked 40 cigarettes a day.
When out in public, C was prone to making loud and inappropriate comments to members of the opposite sex and to those of other religions and cultures. Children also fascinated him and he would stare at them in public.
This behaviour obviously made going out into the local community difficult for C, as these comments and behaviour was often challenged and misunderstood.
Regular key working sessions and staff support focussed on C’s money management and budgeting skills as a way to tackle these fixed, obsessive shopping habits, and to prevent him from dangerously hoarding in his flat.
C’s behaviour in public was also addressed by staff at Claremont, and the obvious offence that he was causing to others, and possible repercussions, explained.
By 2015, C was able to go out into his local community without any issue, and was able to shop appropriately for himself. As a result, C has noticed how much more money he has to spend on his other passions, like playing musical instruments and his love of driving. He had also managed to quit smoking.
C started to fully embrace his passion for playing instruments and for composing music, and has become an accomplished Accordion player. He can now also play the Banjo and the electronic Keyboard, and is also currently learning to play the Bass Guitar. C is now able to travel independently across London to a Music College in Westminster for weekly Bass Guitar lessons.
C loves driving and started taking driving lessons in 2014, having one lesson every week. Even though his Autism may ultimately prevent C from being able to drive his own car, C is very determined to continue learning to drive and still has his weekly lesson.
C’s love of driving has recently bought him to the attention of millions of TV viewers on the BBC show “I’m Different, Let Me Drive”. C featured in his own episode of this very popular show, which follows the journey of learner drivers who are overcoming disabilities.
As a result, C has become somewhat of a local celebrity and is frequently recognised by the public as he walks, shops or even drives around the local community.
To his immense credit and determination, C was able to pass his Driving Test Theory exam in May 2017.