“Andrew has a new found independence and sense of self-esteem”

“Andrew has a new found independence and sense of self-esteem”

Andrew is in his fifties. He lives with his parents and energetic Cocker Spaniel. His family and home life are very important to him.

Andrew has autism and a learning disability. He needs a high level of care and support, as his needs are complex.

Andrew’s parents are preparing for a time when they will no longer be able to care for him in the family home. They want Andrew to grow in confidence away from his home environment and develop his independence.

To help with this preparation, Andrew attends a short break service but the noisy and busy environment is not suited to him. Andrew’s parents needed a well-earned break from caring responsibilities but it was crucial that Andrew enjoyed his time away from them too.

Andrew was already attending the Optalis Learning Disability Day Service, when the Out and About service started up. Initially he took part in day sessions and outings, which worked well.

Building on this success, the Out and About team started to prepare for Andrew’s first overnight stay. Given Andrew’s previous experience of short break care, Andrew’s mother Carole did not sleep with worry. However, her fears were not realised. In fact, Andrew “bounced in the next morning, bright and happy. He had thoroughly enjoyed his time away”.

More recently Andrew enjoyed 2 nights away at Milford-on-Sea. Carole described it as a “huge success”. Andrew said, “It was good fun and I enjoyed it”. So much so, that he is planning to go on another mini-break in February.

Carole says Andrew has blossomed in the last 2 years. She largely attributes the Out and About service for this positive change. She believes the exposure to new places has made him willing to accept different situations. She feels attending Out and About has had a knock on effect in other areas of his life. He is able to communicate better and will more readily engage in activities.

Andrew has a new found independence and sense of self-esteem and he is starting to help around the house.

The service has enabled him to pursue new interests and try new things that his mother never thought possible. A Pop Festival would not be the obvious choice for Andrew, but he had so much fun he didn’t want to leave. Carole put it down to the staff’s in-depth understanding of Andrew and their ability to steer him to an area or an activity he’ll enjoy.

Andrew’s support worker said “Andrew has a wicked sense of humour and is a very friendly, extremely polite, considerate and likeable man. He’s been on a long and rewarding journey. I am proud to see how far Andrew has come, with support from a consistent and patient staff team. His tolerance levels of changes and sudden noises have been amazing. On our recent weekend away Andrew participated fully and received compliments from his peers about how fab he was.”

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