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Clients benefit from new psychologist at special needs service

14 September 2010

A new consultant clinical psychologist has been appointed at the special needs service by Health and Social Services to work with people with special needs as part of the Williamson recommendations.

The appointment of Dr Alice Simon – who joined the department in July – means that for the first time, clients who have special needs will have access to their own dedicated psychologist.

Since 2005, Dr Simon has worked as the consultant clinical psychologist for the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Trust. She has a wide breadth of experience in working with people with both learning disabilities and those who are on the autistic spectrum.

Dr Simon has joined the special needs service run by Health and Social Services at Maison Le Pape.

The full-time, front line appointment has been welcomed by Health and Social Services Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke. “This is an example of an important recommendation becoming real, and I am confident that the appointment of Dr Simon will add even more support in this vital area of work, and build on the already excellent work that happens through the support which the special needs service provides.

“We see this as an essential appointment and welcome this new position, which was one of the recommendations in the Williamson report.”

The special needs service works primarily with children and adults who have learning disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum, often with additional complex needs and behavioural issues. Dr Simon will work full-time with young people aged 14 years and over and adults.

Service manager for the special needs service, Chris Dunne, added “This is a vital appointment, and we feel it fills a gap which existed in our service. Some of our clients have very complex needs, and to have a full time psychologist available to support people is such a boost for them. The appointment means that people with the greatest need can be prioritised and assessed. These are lifelong conditions, and we want to be able to offer effective lifelong support.”

At any one time, the special needs service has contact with about 160 adults and between 70-80 children. About 500 adults and 200 children are known to the service.

The special needs service aims to support both individuals and their families in coping with the challenges associated with a special need, to enable people to live as fully participative members of our society while remaining in the community.

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