An amazing and rewarding experience

Published

Exemplar Health Care runs 30 homes across the country providing specialist care for young adults with severe physical disabilities, mental health issues, challenging behaviour and learning disabilities.

One of their service users, Pete, came to the organisation with Locked-in Syndrome, a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate verbally due to paralysis of nearly all the muscles in the body, except for the eyes.

Exemplar delivers Towards Independence and Pete soon began to take part in the classes using facial expressions and eye movements to communicate.

Heather Johnson, the organisation’s ASDAN co-ordinator, said: “We all communicate in our own way and Pete had found his. In one activity we were discussing utensils used in the kitchen and I was attempting to draw on the flip chart, much to the amusement of the class. I drew what was supposed to be a potato masher and no one knew what it was. Out of the blue, Pete said “masher” – we were amazed to see that he not only said it but also spelt it too. His eyes lit up with achievement and from that day we knew he could read and suspected he could write.

“Pete has attended almost every class I have delivered at his home and he has slowly regained some of his physical abilities and has engaged more and more. Pete’s carers and physiotherapists have seen a marked difference in Pete’s day-to-day behaviour and skills.

“It has been both an amazing and a rewarding experience to work with these learners, especially to see Pete progress, achieve and – importantly – enjoy the process. ASDAN has helped massively in this. I am using it in six of our homes and hope to offer it to a wider audience in the future.”