Autistic Pride Day: From Supported to Supporter, a Transformational Journey

CELEBRATING success this Autistic Pride Day, leading adult social care and support provider National Care Group is shining a spotlight on an individual who has thrived with the right person-centred care.

Daniella Gilbert, who has a diagnosis of autism and learning difficulties, has gone from requiring 24-hour support to becoming a National Care Group colleague, championing other individuals to overcome their challenges.

Taking place on 18 June, Autistic Pride Day is dedicated to empowering people with autism to embrace their strengths. Autism affects 700,000 people in the UK alone, with only 21.7% of adults with the disorder in paid employment due to difficulties understanding social cues, developmental delays and sensory overload, which are typical challenges for those with autism. Daniella has beaten the statistics and secured a role as a support worker for National Care Group, operating at its Shelton Care Day Service in Stoke-on-Trent

Daniella Gilbert said:
“Eight years ago, when I moved into the Shelton Care service, part of National Care Group, I’d never imagined I’d be where I am now. Due to my Mum being unable to manage my autism and learning difficulties in my family home, I lived at Shelton Care and was supported one-on-one for 24 hours a day by National Care Group colleagues. Despite the hurdles I faced, with their help I was able to gain more trust and independence, allowing me to move into supported living, and eventually live independently as I do now.

“From helping me to better manage my emotions and build strong relationships, to taking the next steps in my journey, I’ve gained such a sense of achievement in securing my first paid employment with the team that supported me.”

Daniella and her colleagues support individuals at Shelton’s Knight House Day Services, which opened in August last year, providing a wide range of community activities for adults with a learning disability. It currently supports more than 50 people from the Stoke on Trent area who live at home with family, but require support with various healthcare, social and creative activities.

Daniella’s performance at the service led to a highly commended honour in the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ category at the annual National Care Group Awards last month.

Alongside her day job, Daniella has been able to lead a rich and fulfilling life, recently getting married to her partner of eight years, Mark, in March this year.

Karen Lewis, chief operating officer at National Care Group, said:
“Daniella’s progress acts as an inspiration to many people with autism. She’s come on leaps and bounds to gain back her independence and is ideally placed in her role as a support worker, having walked a mile in the shoes of those she’s helping.

“Our ambition for each of the people we support is that they overcome their barriers to unlock their potential and live fulfilling lives, either with our continued guidance or completely independently as Daniella does. We’re so proud of her achievements and were delighted to acknowledge her most recently at the National Care Group awards.”