Matthew doesn’t use language to communicate but, as he laces up his trainers and goes through the steps to get ready to go walking, you can tell he’s starting to feel happier and more relaxed.
Matthew can display challenging emotions and behaviours but Centacare support worker Liliana has learned how best to support him so he feels at peace and can work on his goals.
“It’s good for Matthew to release the energy that he has,” said Liliana. “It’s also good for him to get out and about and practice being around lots of people.
“We started going to the gym, swim classes and in different activities and then I thought he might enjoy taking part in a running or marathon event,” said Liliana.
“When I saw the International Women’s Day Fun Run advertised, I knew he’d be up for it. We have been training for 10km so 5km is going to be so easy for him. He’s really happy after we finish training and people also notice that after his walks, he is much more relaxed, calm, loving and happy at home.
Centacare Service Delivery Manager Jodie Bland said participating in the fun run was a huge step for Matthew.
“Two years ago Matthew wasn’t able to interact with small groups of people, let alone a community event with 20,000 people and all the colour and noise that goes along with that.
“Liliana has worked with Matthew for six years and, over that time, they have worked hard to build is tolerance to the outside environment. He now enjoys mini golf, Broncos matches and dining out, which have brought so much meaning to his life.”
Routine and familiarity have been important factors in Matthew’s development. When Liliana arrives for her shift at the home Matthew shares with his housemate as part of his supported independent living arrangement, Matthew starts setting the table with cutlery and condiments. He knows Liliana will be supporting him through the evening meal.
Getting out his training shoes and his official bright pink fun run t-shirt is part of the routine Matthew runs through before each training session.
“The last couple of weeks we have been walking the actual track for him to get familiar with the area,” said Liliana. I try to build in familiarity where I can because I know on the day there will be a lot of people. But slowly he is expanding his comfort zone – a little bit at a time.”
WHO CAN GET FUNDING FOR SUPPORTED INDEPENDENT LIVING?
The NDIS has published a useful Supported Independent Living Participant Information Pack, which includes detailed information on how SIL works.
We offer a wide variety of supported living options to suit a range of people and circumstances. For those with complex needs, we have our own in-house behaviour support specialists who can work collaboratively with families, other providers and our own support workers to provide complete wrap-around care, tailored to individual goals.