Last year, Matthew celebrated his 18th birthday and took his first step into adulthood and independence when he moved into a St John of God Accord supported independent living home.
Like many 18-year-olds, Matthew found this transition a challenge, in particular he struggled to settle into the group home environment with other clients.
Matthew has an intellectual disability and he was lashing out with physical violence in his new room which meant the clients living in the home were staying in their rooms and not socialising.
St John of God Accord Director of Accommodation, Respite and Employment Services Margaret Gibson knew they had to find another option.
“We looked at our options. The group environment wasn’t working for Matthew or the other clients as his behaviour was preventing the opportunity for meaningful relationships to form, so we moved Matthew to a property where he could live alone,” she said.
“This returned calmness to the group home and we were able to support Matthew with a multidisciplinary approach including access to allied health care to reduce his behaviours of concerns and enable him to live independently.”
That decision proved the difference, and Matthew now has a place to call home.
“Matthew has been living in his own house and his behaviours of concern have decreased substantially,” Margaret said.
“He has maintained his new home and displayed deep respect for his belongings. We are working with Matthew to build awareness around his behaviour and his support team to ensure he reaches his full potential.”
St John of God Accord Team Leader Shinoj Thomas said Matthew was now taking responsibility for his new home.
“When he first moved in, I asked Matthew to put stickers on items of property they were important to him so give him a sense of ownership and to make him feel comfortable in his new home,” Shinoj said.
Matthew’s mother said without this support her son would be in a very difficult place.
As a part of St John of God Accord’s commitment to enabling clients to attain their full potential in a supported environment, Matthew is making progress towards being able to live in a group home in the future.
“With St John of God Accord’s intervention, Matthew is experiencing a more contented home environment and hopefully he’ll be able to participate in group environment at a future date,” Margaret said.
“When a room becomes vacant, we will put a lot of thought and consideration into whether Matthew is suitably matched with the other clients to achieve the best outcomes for all.”