Supporting Anna to grow
Team leader Rachel, talks about the journey Anna and her staff team have been on over the last six month; a challenging period with lots of change.
When I first met Anna six months ago, I knew we were going to get along brilliantly - her love for crystals, tarot cards, and animals was just as strong as mine. But at first she was reluctant to come out of her bedroom, as this was her safety net, somewhere that she felt comfortable and safe.
Anna didn’t often engage with her support staff, preferring her own company, and learning facts about wildlife. She would go out of the house twice a week, once to go shopping, and once to go horse riding. Other than this, she would spend most of her time on her phone or laptop.
Anna had a lot to cope with in those first couple of months, a new team working with her, and a house move. She wouldn't visit or talk about the new house as this made her anxieties too high. As a team we took a low-key approach, and her brilliant parents gave us lots of valuable information on how to support Anna through this difficult time.
The day of the move was a very tough one for Anna. She spent the day on the sofa while we packed the house up around her and got her new room ready at her new home. Dad made sure everything was just how she wanted it, then told Anna is was time to go – watching her walk out of the door and into a whole new life and world of experiences was just fantastic.
Six months on, Anna is confident, funny, and sociable. She's achieved so much with the support of her fabulous team. She gets out and about most days, trying different experiences and activities such as climbing, and most amazingly has been on her first holiday with her housemates, without Mum or Dad. She loved this, even staying up very late clubbing!
Anna's story is a great example of how a staff team who are proactive and aren't afraid to take on challenges, can make a huge difference to someone's life, enabling them to grow and achieve more. But it's not just about staff - having a good relationship with families can be instrumental too...
Anna's mum and dad are both very keen for us to enable Anna to grow and are totally supportive - an awesome family to work with! Here's what they had to say about Anna's progress:
"I certainly do feel that Anna has progressed through the past six months in so many ways which often are so subtle that they make me smile. Of course, she is now doing so many different activities with her great staff and being offered many more. I mean, fancy going to Butlins and partying the night away! Fantastic. She is making good choices about food and now tells me all the different things she tries at her home. She is now tentatively moving towards trying to have a voluntary job which is another big step forward. She says that she enjoys the group meals and I think that the house has a true positive vibe running throughout with everyone helping each other and enjoying each other's company.
I don't feel that you could do anything better and I really mean that. I am astounded by what has happened for Anna so far and will be forever grateful for the day-to-day care and attention that you provide with the utmost professionalism but with human care. Anna is growing towards her full potential within the conditions that you and your team have provided and thank yous seem quite simple, but they are extremely heartfelt."
"She interacts so much better and her conversation has flourished; at times she doesn't stop talking! She is engaging with new ideas, less negative, and more energetic. I love that she is cooking more and the ladies and are having meals together now. She does not use her phone as much or spend long hours alone in the bedroom watching DVDs, which is great.
The team has understood how she works and developed strategies to encourage her. By understanding her and her autistic traits, you have tapped into her abilities and therefore she has grown and developed into a more rounded person."