Finding Greg's Voice
In February 2015, Brandon Trust started to support Greg* in his home. He had been let down by his previous provider. How to communicate support plans, and keeping his anxiety levels low, was not shared or handed over to us. His home life because of this, was extremely challenging, however, from the day we took over it was a fresh start for Greg. Our team met up with a team of specialists and together we started to work out how Greg would like to be supported. Transition from service provider was far from easy for Greg, we had a lot of professional input and things to prove with them.
We quickly realised that lots of Greg’s 'behaviours' actually came from epileptic seizures. With determination and perseverance, we set about proving this, which showed we had a clear understanding of Greg and knew him well. As time went by his life became structured to his wants, needs, and preferences, with Greg leading the way as it should be. His home now is warm and inviting with him making the art for his walls, his curtains, furniture, everything in his home is what he has chosen. His life is good, he is empowered and happy, choosing how he wants to live his life with support. Fast forward to now, Greg can communicate well by using signs, his iPad, and the mobile phone to share pictures with his team. Usually the staff need to instigate using them though, until now. This blog tells the story of how Greg finally found his voice.
A voice at last
Last month one hot Saturday, the sun was shining, and Greg had finished getting dressed. This was all before anyone had made any suggestions about what he would like to do. Greg is non-verbal and struggles to communicate what he would like to do for himself, so we usually give him choices.
This morning was different. For the first time, he pointed to a photo on his wall of himself at the beach, completely unprompted. We asked Greg if he wanted to go to the beach. He pointed to his cheek enthusiastically, this means yes in Greg's language. We asked: 'Do you want to go to that beach?' Again, Greg said yes, pointing to his cheek. We were amazed and delighted that he had decided what he wanted to do all by himself. It was hard to believe that just a short while ago, he didn’t sign at all and now here he was telling us exactly what he wanted to do.
Greg was very enthusiastic to go to the beach, which he enjoyed thoroughly. We watched in amazement; Greg was anticipating the waves, jumping up and down with excitement prior to the waves hitting him. The sensory enjoyment he looked to be getting from the waves was a privilege to watch; a very cold and wet privilege to watch 😊
Once we all dried off, we snacked at the café and spent some more time on the beach. Greg looked relaxed and happy.
The next day, he did the same thing with different support staff and chose the beach again in the same way. This is a massive step in finding Greg's 'own voice'.
Well done Greg, we are all proud of you!
By Abigail and Karen
*Name has been changed to protect identity