It began with a bus journey into Oxford. Myself and Roz were going bowling. During the journey I soon realised that Roz had become upset. I asked if she could tell me what was upsetting her and she expressed to me that we had just passed the house where Joey Blue lives: Joey Blue is a Budgie. Roz looks after him on occasions when Joey Blue’s family go on holiday and he had returned home a few days earlier after a week’s stay at her house. During the bus journey I realised that I had a ball of blue tac on me. I decided that I would make the shape of a bird. “Look Roz, its Joey Blue” I exclaimed. Roz laughed out loud and had a big smile on her face. After learning that I had just created Joey Blue Tac Roz’s demeanour changed considerably, to a more positive one. Roz said that Joey Blue Tac needed to sit on my finger (his perch) and every Outreach Session from that day on, that’s where he has remained; on bus trips, bowling, at home and swimming – Joey Blue Tac comes with us everywhere. Roz asked if I could take photos of him at different locations so we could have a record of his day.
After a few weeks, Roz was having a tearful day so I thought about introducing a book all about Joey Blue Tac and his adventures. We decided the book would be titled, ‘Me, You and Joey Blue’. The following day I noticed that Roz added ‘Tac’ to the end of that title. We work on the book together and it comes out on every Outreach.
Roz struggles to express her emotions at times, but with Joey Blue Tac, Roz is full of love, warmth and interest toward him. For instance, when travelling on busses, Roz kisses Joey Blue Tac and finds great comfort in knowing that he is there with her. It has strengthened our bond and I have found that it is a good distraction from any negative thoughts that Roz may be having. I have seen a huge improvement in how she feels, and the anxiety she experiences, both when out and about and at home. All I need to do is spark up a conversation about Joey Blue Tac and Roz becomes less anxious about different things going on in her life and the environment around her.
Roz had another tearful day more recently and we came up with the idea of getting Joey Blue Tac a miniature cage. Roz loved this idea so we went ahead and found one. It came, and the day was recorded in the ‘Me, You and Joey Blue Tac’ book. Over the coming days, Roz decided that he needed a food and water bowl, so together we made it out of more blue tac. He now gets fed every Thursday without fail. Roz put a miniature mirror in the cage and couldn’t wait to show me. She came flying out of her door ready to start the day with the great news she had for me, whereas before Joey Blue Tac, on occasions Roz would be indecisive and reluctant to leave the house. Roz is always using her imagination to come up with new ideas; she decided that we needed an identity tag in case we ever lose him (he travels everywhere with us) and he needs a night cage for when its bedtime.
Through Joey Blue Tac Roz is able to express herself in a way that she has found very difficult to do in the past.
Oxford Lifelong Learning
* The name of the person has been changed in this blog