I’ve been working with Dave for just under a year and I feel I have a rather good working relationship with him. I’ve found it can be difficult to recognise a lot of the triggers that cause Dave challenges but I have noted here some of his positive behaviours for his new staff to take away.
I tend to have more positive interactions with Dave recently as I’ve come to the realisation that McDonalds on a Saturday is an awful place in Dave’s eyes: It’s busy, with lots of loud young children making noises, which Dave is very rarely prepared for. He is clearly anxious in this situation so I started bringing him his McDonalds to his home where he is far more relaxed. Bernie and I were working on getting the point across to Dave that he doesn’t HAVE to go to McDonalds if he doesn’t want to.
If Dave reaches his hand to you it can mean a few things:
1) He just wants to hold my hand. It’s as simple as that. He does like physical contact so if he is calm then he will happily sit holding my hand. (If he’s is a bit excited he will sometimes scratch and although this is a sign of happiness if he’s smiling, it’s still quite an unpleasant feeling so I explain I won’t hold his hand if he continues scratching. Usually he stops, but sometimes he doesn’t)
2) I noticed recently that he enjoys me tapping my fingers on his hands, in no particular rhythm but I’ve found it to have quite a calming effect on him if he is starting to look anxious. If he’s biting his fingers then it’s too late for this.
3) He likes having his head rubbed in a circular motion and usually he will lead your hand to do this.
When Dave is happy you’ll know about it! He has a beaming, cheeky smile and a very unique laugh! You’ll know he’s about to have a ‘laugh attack’ when he starts squinting and murmuring but it soon turns into an ear to ear grin and giggle! He will also hum ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ or a couple of different nursery rhymes if he’s happy. There is another song he hums which he’s known from attending church with Bernie on Saturday evenings. If I ask him if he’s being cheeky this usually encourages more smiles and laughter.
He usually has these bouts of laughter after finishing a McDonald’s milkshake. I think this is due to him liking the cold feeling in his stomach as he drinks it very fast. (Keep vigilant when he’s drinking his milkshake as he sucks the straw right into his throat so keep checking he’s ok. He will let it go if you ask to check)
He also does a rhythmic, jerking, dance like movement when he’s excited or happy. These are great to see as he usually walks and moves slowly and cautiously, so to see him letting loose a bit is great and you can see he’s really, really happy!
I just wanted to share this with you as I felt it showed that Great Interactions is getting across and feeling natural to staff plus they are starting to see the difference in quality between different providers and the positive focus MacIntyre always has on the person supported.
The person’s real name is not Dave
Head of Service
Leicester Lifelong Learning