One to One Support - Danny's Story
The focus of our new blog site is to give an insight in to what we do on a daily basis, how are we supporting our young people to allow them to develop skill and achieve their goals. As with working with any young person, there are some challenges but the successes far outweigh these!
So, in our first staff blog, we have asked Danny to let us know his thoughts on the one to one support he has been providing one of our young people, Jack who he has been working with since the end of 2018 to support his preparation to adult services.
“In the beginning, Jack and I did a few paperwork exercises to establish each other’s interests and what Jack hoped to gain from working with me. The two of us along with mum agreed that Jack should continue working towards his qualifications and develop life-skills such as cooking, socialising and independent travel.
Each week, we practiced independent travel with me meeting Jack at his home and we would get the bus to PAS together, where would discuss any issues or anxieties. We would then get the bus to Inveralmond for a coffee to show him the difference and similarities of the bus routes. Eventually, Jack and I brainstormed likely and unlikely situations that may occur with all aspects of travelling and created a “script” so Jack was confident with what he was saying to bus drivers. Now, Jack is more than capable of getting the bus from his house into Perth or to PAS comfortably. He has also gained expertise in weekly passes, timetables and all aspects of train travel.
Working closely with a local secondary school, Jack and I worked hard each day at PAS to practice his National 3 Maths and English. Maths has always been my worst subject, but I felt in order to give the best possible support for Jack I learned a lot of the material myself. On a personal level, this changed my attitude towards maths and helped me understand it significantly more, which subsequently is benefiting me as I prepare my qualifications to be a secondary music teacher. By the end of Jack’s school experience, he managed to achieve a national 3 qualification for both maths and English and had a head start of his national 4’s, which he will be continuing this year.
Both Anna and I were involved with a lot of Jack’s cooking sessions on a Wednesday, where he practiced and developed his cooking skills, cleaning skills and shopping skills. This led to Jack cooking more at home for the family which has gone down a storm!
There were of course many challenges throughout this journey. These were mainly explaining usual social “norms” and managing times where social and professional boundaries were tested. The skills I have gained at PAS prior to my work with Jack have allowed me to better understand when there is an Autism related issue and when it is just a teenager behaving in a difficult way. This illustrates the importance of building relationships when working with young people with autism and creates an understanding of when to use a gentle approach or much firmer approach.
Nearer the end of the support, Jack and I had many conversations about what being independent actually means. We chatted about it being okay to ask for help and independence doesn’t typically mean that we have to do every single thing in life on our own. This tied in nicely with conversations about the importance of being aware of the impact that our behaviour can have on others and building relationships with peers.
Working with Jack has brought me a great feeling of achievement and fulfilment. If a story doesn’t feature any challenges or conflict, then it doesn’t seem real to me as life and autism is not an easy fairy-tale! Working with Jack was the very challenge I was needing and has made realise that PAS is a very rewarding, challenging and beneficial job for all involved."
Jack has now come to the end of his support with Danny and has made the first steps on his way to a fulfilled, independent life, we look forward to following his journey as he moves in to adult services and a huge thank you to Jack and his family for allowing us to document his journey and for all the amazing times we have had!