John loves Dean Martin or Deano as he prefers to call him. He knows every song and sings along when we’re out driving. So much so I’ve become an avid fan of Deano as well!
John lives in a group home in the East of Melbourne and I have been supporting John in an individualized capacity for over a year now. I also have steadily watched John grow as a person enjoying his support arrangements and moving from four hours a week of individualised support to three days a week.
Initially John did not enjoy going out in to the community - his preference was to watch movies and stay home. At this point John and I decided to explore what community activities John would enjoy. It emerged that John used to volunteer at Puffing Billy.
So, to start with, I suggested we drive to Healesville to get John some lunch at the local bakery, as he loves sausage rolls. I put Deano on during our drive, sang along, and within a couple of weeks John gave me a big thumbs up and a smile. This he did many times during his support.
After a while, I thought we’d make use of his Myki card and I proposed that maybe we could catch the train to the city and have lunch at a café. Indeed, the first time we caught the train from Mooroolbark, we ended up at Melbourne Central, where we sat at a café and John had his two sausage rolls and coke zero, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He also started picking up train information booklets from the station, or “books” as he likes to call them, and show them to house staff upon returning home. He’d have a big grin on his face, saying “train tomorrow morning” in excitement, which to me indicated in the clearest way possible that we were making significant progress with John.
As time went by, we kept following our train ride and lunch routine, I could see John was a lot more interested in going out and doing what really made him happy. His smiles and gestures were an added indication of the fact that he really enjoyed himself.
Presently John is a very happy individual who sees that he can do what makes him happy and thoroughly enjoys every single minute of his support. He’s now in charge of his own money and buys his lunch on his own, smiling at café staff and being very proud of himself every time he pays for something. He’s even come to the point where I have to catch up with him every time I come to the house, as he is ready to go as soon as he sees me pulling in to the drive.
On a personal level, I’ve absolutely thoroughly enjoyed working with John and it makes me very proud to see how far he has progressed.
His kind nature makes him impossible not to like, as he loves children and will always smile when he sees a “bubba”, to quote John.
John is genuinely excited to see me or my colleague who also works with him. I guess John’s support epitomizes what individual support is all about, as it has made a huge difference in his life and has made him genuinely happy. He understands that we only do what he wants to do and he’s responded to it exceptionally well, giving we support workers a great sense of achievement and the satisfaction that comes from knowing we’ve supported an individual to improve his quality of life. It doesn’t get better than that!
For more information about St John of God Accord, please contact:
Phone: 1300 00 2226