“Making our home our own!”
Martin and Steve are both young men in their 30’s living with ASD and learning disabilities. Having both lived their early lives in Hertfordshire they both eventually ended up moving to a hospital in Essex where they lived on the same ward for around 10 years. It became very evident that both Martin and Steve were more than ready to move on from living in hospital and really start living their lives for themselves, in the way that they wanted too.
However, it was also apparent that both gentlemen were socially and academically firmly rooted in the area in which they had spent the last 10 years of their lives. It was at the point that Next Steps were contacted and asked if a satellite service could be set up for them in Essex. We worked with Martin and Steve, their families, the hospital in which they lived and their other professional teams to ensure the service was right. This included visits from staff to meet both gentlemen and visits to the service to see and be part of the selection process for their new home.
Martin and Steve joined Next Steps back in 2015; already knowing and being familiar with the local area helped initially to calm any nerves normally associated with such a life changing upheaval. Another important factor with supporting both Martin and Steve to settle quickly into their new home was continuity of provision of activities and additional services. Both Martin and Steve attend an educational centre which is very important to both of them- Our teams were able to ensure that no change in routine was experienced with their attendance, helping to keep things as familiar as possible.
A main goal and area to develop for both gentlemen was their independence in as many areas of their lives as possible. The approach our teams took with this was particularly client led- observing strengths and weaknesses and working with both Martin and Steve to develop existing skills and learn new ones. Although their interests are rooted in different areas, both Martin and Steve have developed a much greater sense of freedom through doing things for themselves on their own terms.
Routine is incredibly beneficial to Martin and Steve and from day one, our teams have worked hard to establish client led and person-centred routines based on the needs of each person as an individual whilst taking into account any operational needs of the service on the whole. Detailed weekly activity schedules are organised with Martin and Steve so that that everyone knows what is going on. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, staff have worked in innovative ways to ensure that activities can still be carried out. Prior to the pandemic, both Martin and Steve regularly attended an educational day centre; where this has been shut during the pandemic, Staff worked with the day centre providers on projects from home such as gardening and arts and crafts activities.
The progress that both gentlemen have made since joining Next Steps has been outstanding with positive, tangible life changing outcomes. Martin and Steve have both set goals that will help them to continue to grow and flourish, living within their community, gaining more independence each day.