When *Keith first arrived at MacIntyre No Limits in September 2017, he was quiet and subdued and felt anxious communicating with others. Since then, Keith has conquered public transport, explored his passions for cooking and music and is now able to order his own drink in public restaurants.
Lyn Mawhinney, Community Learning Facilitator at MacIntyre No Limits shares her thoughts on Keith’s journey.
“I remember getting to know Keith in the holidays before he started with us in September. Keith was very quiet and subdued at the beginning of our trip to Safari Park. Not far into the walking safari, Keith made it clear that he wanted to leave.
I remember at the time we were near a notice board and Keith walked behind it. As I stood in front, I remember seeing his shoes under the board. Each step he took, I did the same. This moved onto Keith knocking on the board and myself repeating this back. Little did I know then that this was the start of Intense Interactions. Keith found it funny and we made that first step of communicating with one another.”
At first, Keith found it difficult being out in the community with new staff. As Keith’s speech was limited, he felt anxious entering a conversion with others.
Reflecting on working with Keith, Lyn explained:
“I was lucky enough to be moved onto Keith’s staffing team and become Keith’s Key Worker. I worked with Keith to create a communication board so that he could give staff the PECS and we would understand what he wanted. Keith also has anxieties of putting on his shoes, so I created a game with resources to do one step at a time. This involved me putting one of his shoes on, at the same time as he put the other shoe on. With humour being key to Keith’s engagement, his confidence and personality grew and grew.”
As Keith’s confidence grew, so did his curiosity. Since joining MacIntyre No Limits, Keith has shown staff his talent for cooking and his passion for music. He also volunteers at two local charity shops and has even begun to enjoy riding public transport. Not only this, but as a result of fundraising, Keith has also been on two holidays; something he hasn’t been able to do since he was eighteen months old.
Most recently, staff were delighted to witness Keith have enough courage to order his own drink at a busy McDonalds restaurant.
“Keith has moved onto a 1:1 support for one day a week. We are now in the process of supporting him to move out from his family home, to become more independent.”
*The student’s name has been changed.