2014 was a year with a lot of changes in my life. The biggest change was moving into my new home in Tallaght. Moving into this new home meant that I have some more independence in my life. Independence means that the more I get to do things on my own the more better I get in life. When I moved I got some new staff who I like working with and also kept some of my old staff too. I like singing karaoke and having the privacy to do this in my own home. This year I have also achieved more hours in my job. I also achieved membership of St. Joseph’s social club and met more friends. I now go bowling in south Metro Special Olympics club in Palmerstown where I also met new friends. If I had not come to live in Tallaght I probably would not have met any of these new friends. I achieved a lot in 2014 and 2015 is going to be even better because I am going to make it better.
Living in a house of his own had been a goal of Gavin’s for a few years. In September 2014 Gavin realised this goal when he moved into his new house. This realisation of Gavin’s goal involved a lot of planning between staff, Gavin and Gavin’s family.
One of the challenges we faced was that of balancing Gavin’s level of independence with ensuring his safety. While Gavin no longer has sleepover staff, his residence is beside a house that is staffed at night by WALK, so that Gavin can avail of staff support if he requires it. We have employed the use of assistive technology also to help manage this balance of independence and safety. These supports combine to provide a sense of safety for Gavin, his family and WALK.
Before moving in, staff spoke with Gavin about what support he wanted from those who would be working with him. Gavin informed us that he wanted to be more active in the community and wanted to join social club, a Special Olympics sports club and a local gym. Gavin also identified that he wanted to learn more cooking skills so that he could cook meals for himself. Gavin has a small team of familiar and new staff who have supported him with these goals. The team also support Gavin with budgeting weekly household finances, paying his bills, doing weekly grocery shopping and ensuring that Gavin’s house is a place where Gavin can entertain friends and family when he wishes.
We recognise that a person’s life evolves constantly and that their needs and wants can continuously change and as such, we regularly talk with Gavin about his supports to ensure that they are meeting his expectations. Gavin says he is enjoying his new living arrangements and the independence it offers him. He is linked in with specific clubs and his employment continues to be a great success.
- Described by Cillian, Team Leader, WALK
When WALK met Anne first she was depressed from having lived in long stay institutional care for far too long. She had previously lived an independent life and experienced the confines of a psychiatric ward as repressive.
We met with Anne and talked about what was important in her life and carefully planned how we might support her to build and develop on her dreams. Using a low arousal approach WALK successfully supported Anne through the process of deinstitutionalisation. She now lives with two other people in the community next to where she grew up. She has a part time job and most importantly she has reestablished links with her family and friends.
Anne is first to admit that she is happier now and that the challenges that were in her life before are now more manageable with the right support. Here is how she describes it...
“I asked to make the move for various reasons including being close to my family and also to be close to areas that I know well and that provide me with comfort. The move to Inchicore has worked out very well for me. I am living in a house that is near to everything that I wanted. I have access to great transport so that I can travel to places I want to visit with much ease. This allows me to have independence to come and go as I please. The place that I live in is truly home to me.”