Dawn is a lady that I have been supporting for the last two and a half years. Dawn is the kind of person who could pick you up when you’re down or give you a shoulder to cry on. She loves to help out when she can with cleaning or just looking after another person we support with cups of tea. Dawn has a wicked and cheeky sense of humour and a great smile but she has an even bigger heart.
Dawn is a person who lives by a routine. She might go to buy a CD, have a cup of tea or buy a keyring. This has been Dawn’s routine since I started working here. Doing something outside of her routine can be scary for Dawn. She can become very anxious when she is unsure of where she is going or what she doing when she goes out. Supporting Dawn out in the community can be tricky.
Trying to step away from the routine, I wanted to do something different with Dawn. Using person centre planning and reflection I tried to think of what we could do for the day that still involved Dawn getting a cup of tea or a keyring. I thought of what Dawn might enjoy that would not be too overwhelming for her. I thought about the wild life park down the road from us which Dawn’s mum and dad take her to. There is also a little café there where Dawn could get a cup of tea. I asked Dawn if she liked animals and if she wanted to go to the park. Dawn said ‘yes’ but also asked for a cup of tea which we agreed we would get after we saw the animals.
We got a taxi to the park where I repeated to Dawn what we were going to do for the day. At this point I got a little bit nervous about how Dawn was going to react when we got there. Dawn became nervous and a little anxious when we got there. I explained again what we were doing to Dawn to try and support Dawn with her anxiety. I didn’t want to give up and go home as I didn’t want Dawn to miss out on something that she would love. After a few minutes I managed to bring Dawn around. Dawn was less anxious about walking around the park.
As soon as Dawn saw the otters she smiled at me. Dawn walked around the park pointing at animals and naming every one of them. She was laughing and seemed to take a big interest in a pair of owls which she named mamma and daddy. Dawn was excited about which animal she would see next and didn’t mention a cup of tea or a keyring the whole way round. As we reached the end of the park and headed towards the café, Dawn pulled my hand back to see the owls again. The park was small but we ended up staying there for quite a while.
When Dawn decided that she wanted to leave, we went to buy a cup of tea. She had a huge smile on her face and was still laughing at the fact that she named one of animals after one of my co-workers (the animal was a wild boar). Dawn had put her faith in me to support her that day around the park. She was a bit anxious and nervous, but she came in anyway: she found the courage to take a step away from her routine. I will always remember that day whenever I feel anxious or nervous and know that if I find the courage to overcome my fear something amazing might happen.
Senior Support Worker