Sunderland graduate’s help for people with autism

Lisa Alcorn pictured at Sunderland University Science Complex.
Lisa Alcorn pictured at Sunderland University Science Complex.
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A SUNDERLAND graduate will be putting her university work into best practice when she takes up a new national role.

Lisa Alcorn, who has 23 years experience of working with autistic people, is leaving her post as head of practice and development at the North East Autism Society to join national charity Creative Support.

There she will be developing a practical framework for the UK’s health and social care industry in the use of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and the reduction of physical intervention.

Mum-of-two Lisa believes the strategies she’s developing while studying for her Professional Doctorate at the University of Sunderland will bridge the gap between new Government guidelines and putting PBS theories into practice.

Many traditional methods of managing or changing challenging behaviour have been forms of punishment and coercion, but PBS is a modern approach using methods that aim to assist a person to reduce challenging behaviour and increase their quality of life through teaching them new skills and adjusting their environment to promote positive behaviour changes.

Lisa said: “My new role in the voluntary sector at Creative Support will be about looking at the Department of Health’s national guidelines, interpreting them and putting them into a practical framework for those working in health and social care.

“There’s a gap between the theory and practice and I know how to fill that gap as a result of the work I’m doing in my Professional Doctorate at Sunderland. PBS is an approach I’ve adopted throughout my career when others considered it barmy, but it’s a commonsense approach that reduces the need for restrictive, physical interventions, and minimising the chance of abuse occurring in the future.”

Lisa, who studied both a degree and masters degree on Wearside, credits the university for supporting her career progression and giving her the confidence to take on her new national role.

She said: “I never thought I was clever enough to go to university, but once I began my course, I just got the bug.”