Daniel is a young man who has a smile on his face which is extremely contagious – you can’t help but smile back at Daniel when he smiles at you. Daniel has a learning disability; autism and additional mental health needs. His family adore him and will do anything they can to support him to be a well, happy and active man.
His personal journey has been a difficult one, he has experienced health related challenges that have frequently changed the course of his life, but with the support of his family these challenges have been overcome, enabling him to arrive at where he is today.
MacIntyre began supporting Daniel during one of a number of admissions to an inpatient assessment and treatment unit. We worked alongside family and another care provider to understand Daniels needs and provide support to enable his discharge transition back home to his family, then later into shared accommodation with other young men.
I became a Shared Lives Carer when Daniel was going through a further mental health related challenging time. During this time support was being provided at his parents’ house, Dan was struggling with his mental health and recovery was proving difficult for all involved. I felt my family and I could offer Dan the opportunity to spend time with us, enabling his parents to re charge their batteries. His family were pleased at this prospect and with everyone working together the creativity of the support provided really helped Daniel to recover – this was in a real partnership way.
One of the fears Daniel has had for such a long time is the fear of dogs. His Mum and Dad expressed their sadness at this as in the past he had been so confident with them. The fear impacted on Daniel’s day to day life as so many of his activities would be hindered by the prospect of meeting a dog when out and about.
I am pleased to say that as part of sharing our lives he has developed a renewed confidence with dogs. This renewed confidence took time to develop. Working out the right time to introduce Dan to our dogs, in relation to his stage of wellbeing, proved to be the first step towards success. Starting with him watching them play in the garden and gradually moving them closer into his space at a pace that matched his overall growing confidence levels has achieved success. He now enjoys walks with his new best friends Rolo and Buddy, he even sneaks a snuggle on the couch with his pal Rolo.