Kevin is in his mid-50s and comes from a traumatised background, which has included many years in care. When he came to Venus two years ago he was non-verbal. At that time communication with Kevin was only possible using images on cards. A picture of a rainy street would be greeted with a shake of the head meaning ‘I don’t feel like going out today’. Another of an ice-cream cornet might be more likely to receive a nod, even with the hint of a smile.
By providing regular “schooltime” for Kevin, we have been able to encourage him to communicate through words and not cards. After being with us for less than a year he had started verbalising, which was a big achievement. He now speaks delivering whole sentences saying “This is what I would like” and “Can I have some more of that, please”. It has taken time to find and uncover Kevin’s pathway to recovery that was hidden beneath the troubled overgrowth of his past, but his journey has now begun, from which there will be no turning back.
Nora, diagnosed with Austistic Spectrum Disorder, has been with us for 5 years. She smoked heavily and persistently would not eat. A Care Plan was prepared and agreed with her that put defined structures into place and set precise goals.
Nora resisted this at first. But staff persisted, sometimes overcoming outbursts of severely challenging behaviour, to the point when Nora, tentatively at first, started to eat. Then, after two and a half years we engaged Nora on a ‘smoking cessation’ programme, once again encountering resistance.
Today, Nora has stopped smoking completely, to the point when she tells everyone, whether staff, social workers or other visitors to the Home “I’m so excited. I don’t smoke any more”.
As with all our residents, it’s through the setting and patient realisation of small, achievable goals that we achieve results.
Peter is a 29 year old who tells his own story about his time at Venus.
“When I came to Toby Lodge I’d been in and out of hospitals and other care homes and felt very unhappy. No one seemed to understand that I had a learning disability, and just ignored what I wanted.
I love it here. The staff are brilliant. I have been taught how to cook. I go to College and have learned how to write. I go to the gym, and staff come with me when I go to the cinema and roller-blading.
I may get my own flat one day as I have just started work as a volunteer”