Connor is 23 and has been coming to Flower Pod Southwell for 3 years. He loves animals, music, snooker and dustbin lorries.
School wasn’t always the easiest place for Connor and he had a difficult transition to adult services. Cerebral palsy affects his speech and fine motor skills, and he struggles with busy environments. Connor sometimes finds it difficult to understand and to be understood. At times, Connor’s frustration levels become so significant that he struggles to cope. Flower Pod is a safe place for Connor. We have worked with him, his family and healthcare professionals such as Speech and Language Therapy to get to know him. Some of the ways we support Connor are:
- Enabling him to communicate his needs
- Offering him choice – empowering him to select the tasks he wants to do. He now prioritises and orders what he wants to
- Using his interests and coping mechanisms positively, giving him a voice
- Encouraging him to understand how his actions might impact on others
- Rewarding him for wise choices, for example remembering to distance and wear a mask
- Planning ahead and providing a bespoke visual timetable for the day
- Modelling positive behaviour and appropriate language
- Being mindful of how Connor perceives situations, for example we learned that he becomes anxious if he feels he is being told off.
When Connor was doing some shredding recently, someone close by was disturbed by the noise. Connor calmly got up and closed the door to the adjoining room. This was a good example of the positive changes in Connor – he now displays empathy for other people and their own challenges.
At Flower Pod we use specialist software to help people to communicate – Connor uses an app called Widgit on an iPad to tell his family what he’s been doing. Short videos and pictures and recordings of his day help him to share, explain, and remember what he does. His mum, Sam, has told us Connor’s speech deteriorates when he is stressed, so the stories are very important to him.
Connor’s reading and writing have improved since he’s been at Flower Pod – he is more confident. He knows it’s not a problem if he doesn’t get things right first time, we just try again. Sam says she’s confident his needs are being met – it’s clear by the fact he can’t wait to get to Flower Pod and see his friends. He loves working with staff and they love working with him – he’s a delight!
Connor can become obsessive, so we help him to channel his interests positively. We work with him to learn more about rubbish, recycling, shredding and how to dispose of rubbish properly, without promoting the obsessive tendency of this interest. Connor sees this as part of his responsibility at Flower Pod – he knows he’s helping our community.
Connor takes enormous pride in his Flower Pod journals. They are all numbered and stored neatly. He likes to revisit them, thinking and remembering what he’s done.
At Flower Pod we provide an adult service, Connor is able to take charge of his own day, and to explore his own potential. Connor says “I just can’t stop working here, I just can’t. I love it.”
Connor thinks of Flower Pod Southwell as work whilst having fun. On the days he’s at Flower Pod Southwell he’s tired physically and mentally when he gets home, and this helps him to feel relaxed and takes pressure off the family. He counts down the days until he’s back – he’s always smiling when he’s at Flower Pod Southwell. He has developed some self-awareness and patience. Because he’s better able to manage his frustration and not lash out or kick things, he has better relationships now. It’s better for everyone. He is so much calmer. What a difference! He is happier than ever, has matured and manages his frustration so much better now. I don’t know what it is you’re doing but keep doing it!.”
Sam, Connor’s mum
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