Alison has lived at one of our supported living services in Suffolk with three of her friends for eight years. She needs a high level of support with her day-to-day life – as well as a learning disability she also has physical impairments and other health conditions. Our team are always looking for ways to support Alison and her friends to learn new skills and increase their independence.
We focus on what people can do, not what they can’t. And we never say never! We work to break down barriers and support people to make the small steps necessary so that they can participate in their lives and do things for themselves, not just have everything done for or to them.
Alison recently brushed her own hair for the first time. Something so many of us take for granted, but for Alison, it was a major achievement that required a lot of support to get her there.
Deputy manager Egnes says: “Some people think disabled means not able but that’s simply not true. Often you just need to find another way to make something possible, so that people can do things for themselves.
“This is a wonderful achievement for Alison, and really shows how her team have put into practice the FitzRoy values of being brave, creative, and seeing the person. When you do that, amazing things can happen. The team broke the process down into small steps and showed Alison how to hold the brush to begin with. Then they demonstrated to her that it goes in your hair. We were all so excited when it came together and she brushed her hair independently for the first time. I heard all this joyful shouting and excitement coming from the bathroom, so I rushed through to find out what was going on. When I saw Alison brushing her own hair I had to join in the joy and celebration too! The next time Alison had her hair washed, we watched to see what happened and, sure enough, she brushed her hair herself again.
“Alison is a very strong lady and a lovely person – she’s all smiles and always helpful. She’s very clever and always tries to implement what you’re supporting her with so she can do as much for herself as possible. Alison knows her own mind too and she likes to test everything out so she can make her own choice. She makes it clear if she doesn’t like a particular food or doesn’t want to wear a dress you’re offering her. She’ll push it away quite firmly if she doesn’t want to wear that today! By supporting her to test things out in ways that work for her, we’ve made it possible for Alison to make choices and express them to us.
I wake up and look forward to coming to work every day because I know we’re making a difference in people’s lives. I’m so proud of what we and the people we support have achieved together.