When Aurora Options starts supporting someone we make an effort to get to know them properly.
Likes, dislikes, aspirations, gifts – understanding all of these things helps us plan a service that delivers what the person wants and needs.
When we were introduced to Tayo in 2014 we spent about two months monitoring his skills, and what he might need help with. We also liaised with the day centre that Tayo had attended for some time, as staff there knew him well.
Through this it became clear that to support Tayo effectively we needed to find ways of communicating that work for him. Also, it was apparent that he needed guidance with routine household tasks.
Tayo’s speech is limited, but he uses Makaton, a simple sign language. We sent staff who would work with him regularly on a course to learn Makaton and other forms of non-verbal communication themselves.
By combining Makaton, pictures and simple language staff could speak freely with Tayo and understand what he wanted.
We noticed that, like a lot of people, Tayo has personalised some of the Makaton signs. Our staff learned to recognise these adapted signs, and recorded them in a communications passport.
This is a useful document for people who don’t know Tayo well. It includes a photo of each sign he uses, plus an explanatory note to indicate if and how he might adapt and change the sign.
Another way Tayo communicates is by using his mobile and iPad. He was able to buy both of these after we supported him to sort out his benefits.
He has opened a bank account and now pays his bills. Tayo makes good use of the iPad in particular, for example, indicating what food he would like to try by locating pictures of it online and showing us.
Being able to communicate well with Tayo made it easier to support him with learning to live independently and taking responsibility for his home.
Before he moved to his flat in 2014 he’d spent a long time in temporary respite accommodation after moving out of his mother’s home, and had no real experience of living independently.
For example, Tayo likes cooking, but we noticed that he wasn’t always using the oven in a safe way. We broke down the task of using the oven into a set of simple steps. Tayo soon learned to use the oven safely and now cooks for himself.
Tayo has become increasingly confident and self-reliant. He meets with his keyworker every 8 weeks and has a full review every 6 months.
At these meetings he talks about what he wants to do, what support he would like, and what needs changing.
Though he has a busy life, with football, dancing, rock-climbing and seeing his friends, he is looking to the future.
He wants to get a job, and we are helping him to put together a CV and start looking around for suitable opportunities.
He’s also planning a big holiday to celebrate his 30th birthday in a few years time. He hopes to go to the USA.