Greg chose to go on holiday to Disneyland Paris with myself and our Head of Service, Oli, even though he can get anxious and feel uncomfortable in new places. We stayed at the Davy Crockett Ranch, which has its own facilities on site and most nights we would walk to the restaurant, which meant we would have to walk on the footpath that was only a metre or so away from the road. Greg would take hold of one of our arms for reassurance and he walked very close to us and also very fast.
Greg and Oli built up a strong relationship at the beginning of the holiday, as Greg relates well to men and the two of them could walk at a fast pace (I’m much shorter!). I continually found myself one, or two steps behind, and realised that I needed to find a better way of engaging with Greg. I thought about this and chatted it through with Oli.
One evening Greg and I decided we would walk to the restaurant and Oli would catch up. I wanted to make this walk as easy as possible for Greg so I decided to try something out. I engaged Greg in conversation the whole way to
distract him from feeling anxious and unsettled. I managed to keep the conversation flowing by talking about things that were important to him, so that once one conversation had finished another one instantly started. We spoke about
the gifts he wanted to buy to take back home, his family and what he wanted to do that evening and lots more. On one topic I noticed that he was less engaged so I quickly moved the conversation on, to ensure his concentration stayed with the conversation and away from things that cause him anxiety. The restaurant was about a 20-30 minute walk and not once did Greg ask for a supporting arm. He walked independently with his head held high and his shoulders back. He even slowed down to walk at my pace and not once did he show any fear.
At the end of the footpath there is a car park; Greg does not like car parks as he witnessed an incident in one previously and that put him off them. When we reached the car park, Greg felt so comfortable and confident that he walked straight through it, not once asking for reassurance from me. I still carried on the conversation and once we reached the restaurant we talked about what hehad achieved. He was delighted!
Oli explained that my working in a
facilitative way had brought about great results for Greg.
Support Worker, Buckinghamshire