Over the last 12 months, Gate House has evolved into a complete communicating and therapeutic community thanks to the care and dedication of a superb team.
Here are just some of the amazing stories which show the way in which the team’s dignity and respect for the people we support has resulted in tangible benefits:
- The parents of one individual didn’t allow her to attend review meetings due to difficult behaviour. Using objects of reference to help her communicate, she told her key worker that she wanted to open her next review meeting. With the help of her key worker, she produced a dreams and aspirations board. She walked to the meeting on her own, using her rolvator. Her attendance was met with objections from her parents but these were calmly overcome by the key worker. The individual showed her board and opened the meeting. Her parents were overwhelmed and apologetic after seeing that their daughter can cope, and not only cope but excel.
- Another individual used objects of reference to state that she wanted to be able to go to the local shop. Her behavior had previously prevented this as she would grab at everything, scream and shout and become unmanageable around children. However, her key worker wanted to pursue her request. The trips were indeed very difficult to start with and involved a 3-person team. However, once her key worker discovered what she really wanted (2 tins of cat food!) her behavior became more manageable and she now goes to the shop every day with a smaller team. Her key worker discovered that she enjoyed rubbing the tins of cat food together – it was something she did as a toddler and she found it calming. Care system guidelines would not generally encourage such items to be acquired (because the client doesn’t have a cat) but it’s our belief that such things should be permitted if it is not entirely unreasonable.
- We now take the people we support swimming on a regular basis. One individual who didn’t walk at all found that he could walk in the water (wearing a supportive jacket), which has encouraged him to now walk with a frame.
- One individual used to love horse riding but was stopped from going by Riding for the Disabled due to weakness in her core strength. She was in a wheelchair at the time but her key worker, in conjunction with the occupational therapist, encouraged her to try a rolvator. This activity, together with swimming, is helping to strengthen her core. Her goal is to get back to horse riding.