Congratulations to Reece, who lives in one of our supported living services in Suffolk, he has achieved a huge goal of socialising outside the house for the first time since lockdown!
After lockdown lifted, like so many people, Reece struggled a lot with anxiety about going out and socialising, his confidence had been completely knocked.
Deputy manager Sarah said: “You have to take the time to build a relationship with Reece and he’s built a marvellous relationship with one of our support workers Trevor, Reece calls him his ‘Beetons Dad’. Trevor has built a strong relationship with Reece, actively listening to and understanding his needs. They’ve reached a point where they share laughs and friendly banter, and Reece trusts him.
“Reece struggles with processing and managing his emotions which can cause him to feel overwhelmed and become distressed. If we suggested going out it would trigger a cascade of emotions for Reece, making him feel anxious and worried. Even having that conversation with him caused him to overthink and feel more anxiety and worry, deterring him from wanting to go out.”
Sarah and Trevor decided on a different approach.
“It seemed that Reece was more worried about the idea of going out, but we thought if we didn’t make a big deal of it ,and just took him out with his housemates, if Reece asked to go home or began getting distressed, we could promptly head back.
“Myself and Trevor decided to take all the residents including Reece to the Freedom Café, a local church event for disabled people to get involved in activities and meet new people. Reece travelled in Trevor’s car, and wasn’t showing any signs of distress and hadn’t asked to leave. He sat down at one of the tables and a woman running one of the activities started talking with him straight away. Trever sat by his side the whole time, and Reece was genuinely enjoying himself. There were a lot of familiar faces, including friends from another FitzRoy service, which contributed to Reece’s comfort. While Reece wasn’t initially interested in participating in other activities, he found enjoyment in solving word searches, and the café now makes sure they have some ready for him every week!
“The following week, we were planning to go to the Freedom Café again, but Trevor wasn’t on shift, so Reece didn’t feel like going. However, the week after, when Trevor was back, Reece was excited to go again.
We are all so proud of this milestone that he has achieved and we are hopeful that with this huge step that Reece has taken, we can continue to build his confidence, establish more goals with him and encourage him to get out of the house and socialise more often.
“The team’s ability recognise and comprehend Reece’s triggers and devise an approach that prevents Reece from becoming overwhelmed by his thoughts and emotions is a true testament to our values. They have taken the time to see and understand Reece for who he is, and they have demonstrated creativity and initiative. Both the team and Reece have been brave in their willingness to embrace and try something different.”