Hi, I’m Clare Wilcox, an experienced health and social care trainer with 25 years of experience within the care sector, 20 of those working with adults with learning disabilities, complex care needs, PMLD and challenging behaviour, within the NHS.
I’ve been a trainer for 6 years, have a PTLLS qualification and I’m currently half-way through my second year studying for my DET at University.
I thoroughly enjoy being able to increase people’s knowledge, help them to see outside the box, prevent them from becoming complacent, and improve problem solving skills. If you’ve been in a job for a while, it’s all too easy to become complacent! Because people change, our skills need to change along with them – person centred care is vital!
I also like my training sessions to be relaxed and friendly, to ensure everyone contributes and feels valued. It’s your training, and I wholeheartedly believe that you will get out of it what you put in.
There is no such thing as a stupid question in my training!
I’m always keen to ensure that everyone has a full understanding of the subject, and I’m aware that everyone learns in a different way. I am always understanding of this, and like to adapt my training style to suit the trainees. I also like to use personal experiences to support them in embedding their knowledge and understanding. It’s alright having the knowledge, but do you know why you do it the way you do?!
I am also clear that, believe it or not, I don’t know everything – I aim to learn something from my trainees in every session!
Why is training important?
As a trainer, the worst sentence you can hear is ‘We’ve always done it this way’ – I always respond with ‘And has it always worked? And are the people you’re working with now the same as they were then?’.
As well as professional experience in health care supporting people with autism, I also have many years of experience in my personal life, and not all the skills are the same! This has given me a unique understanding of autism and PBS. For many years, people were under the impression that the autistic spectrum was a straight line. It’s not – it’s more like a Pick ‘N Mix from Wilco’s!
From my experience as both a care worker and the parent of a child with autism, it is my firm belief that all behaviour has a reason. Unfortunately, it often takes time to discover what that reason is. This is true for many, whether we’re talking about autism, dementia, or anything else that can affect the brain. For example, for someone with autism it could take an hour for them to process a situation and react. Unlike myself when driving behind someone who forgets to use their indicators – my emotional reaction in that situation is normally quite instantaneous! But for someone with autism, they may express behaviours up to an hour later in response to the same situation.
This is why I am passionate about PBS training and understanding the reasons for the behaviour and supporting an individual at that point, rather than relying on more extreme measures later. It’s about being proactive, not reactive!
It’s always worth remembering that what might be important to our service users may not be important to us, like the seat you sit in on public transport, which mug you drink from or the colour of your plate – but it’s our responsibility to recognise and acknowledge the value that our service users see in these things, and understand how this might influence their behaviour.
To learn more about the face-to-face, online and distance learning Health and Social Care training we offer, click here