Daniel’s Success Story – Oban Street
Daniel, aged 35, an individual with learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism, moved into Oban Street, a supported living service in Ipswich, Suffolk in July 2019, from his family home where he lived with his parents.
Oban Street is a shared house for two individuals with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs. With a caring, supportive environment, the focus is on supporting individuals to live as active and meaningful life as possible within the local community and achieve greater independence in line with specific needs.
Daniel’s move to Oban Street was the start of a new adventure for him. As soon as he arrived for his first visit to the service, as part of his transition before moving in, he had a great big smile on his face and was keen to look around the whole house and see where everything was. He also got to meet his new house mate and they immediately realised they knew each other from school which was a great start to building up their friendship and to living together.
Over the transition period, Daniel came to visit a few more times and stayed to have meals with his soon to be housemate. They sat chatting and laughing at the dinner table while eating, and discovered they had many common interests including listening to music and watching Quiz shows.
When Daniel moved into his new home on the 29th of July 2019, Melany Castillo, Community Support Manager at Oban Street, remembers him saying, “Is this my new house?” and “Will you be helping me?” which was a positive sign that Daniel was ready to embark on his new adventure of living in his own home.
When Daniel first moved in, he was attending a local day service from Monday to Friday where he would take part in lots of different life skills.
The team at Oban Street supported Daniel to get ready in the mornings, including supporting him with his personal care and with choosing what he would like to wear. Daniel would also choose what he would like in his packed lunch each day.
Daniel was taken by taxi to the day service and as soon as he got into the car, he would immediately say, “seat belt,” and put it on so that he was safe. He would return just after 3pm and always asked for a “cup of tea please.”
Melany says, “Daniel is always very clean and tidy. He will put his rubbish in the kitchen bin and place his lunch box in the sink ready to be cleaned. He likes to keep everything organised and in its place.”
When Daniel first moved in, he was very protective of his money and it was difficult for the team to support him with his finances or keep a record of how much he had as he would not let anyone near his wallet and at times, he would carry around his safe tin.
After a while Daniel became more trusting of the team and when asked would get his wallet out and pour his money on to the table and watch as we counted it, “Do I get anymore?” (is the general thing he asks as you count). He now asks, “How much did I spend on shopping?” or following a day out. His trust and confidence in the staff have grown considerably.
The team all spent time with Daniel learning what they could do to help him improve his skills and abilities. Daniel loves to grow vegetables’ and flowers, so the team set up an area in the courtyard for him to grow his own flowers and tomatoes. He found this very exciting and watered everything each day.
“Daniel has a lot of pride in what he has grown and loves to show everybody, “Look what I’ve got in my garden,”” says Melany.
The team learnt that Daniel didn’t have very much experience of shopping in a supermarket, so to support him to develop greater independence and confidence, the team began taking him to the supermarket once a week. On the first occasion, Daniel found the experience a bit overwhelming and he was nervous about what to choose, however, after he had been a few times, he soon began to enjoy it. He now likes pushing the trolley and choosing what foods he would like and organising them in the trolley.
Melany says, “He has come along so much that he knows what he needs to buy and is sometimes cheeky and asks for “naughty food.”
Once a week both the housemates cook at home and they enjoy making a variety of different things from sausage rolls and scones, to cakes, pies and bread. Daniel is very hands on when it comes to making things. He especially loves to get all sticky mixing the ingredients together, laughing all the time while hands deep in the mix. He did so well in the first session of home cooking that he was awarded a certificate, which now has pride of place on his bedroom wall.
Melany says, “We have a lot of laughs and giggles with Daniel as everything is so funny to him. He is cheeky sometimes and teases you. He loves to say, “hello” to you all the time.”
“When being playful with him we sometimes reply, “I’m sorry the number you have dialled has not been recognised, please try again,” and he will laugh and look at you and say, “not funny,” and then laugh even more.”
Daniel has adapted so well to independent living and enjoys visits from his mum and dad and they often enjoy sitting in the courtyard having a cup of tea. Mum and dad have said they have seen a change in Daniel and that he seems very settled and they are very happy to see him learning new skills.
During the pandemic, Daniel was able to understand that mum and dad could not visit him at that time. He also understood that getting too close could make him or another person poorly and when going out to do the shopping or for a walk, he would remind the team that we all need to wear face masks. Throughout this period, Daniel also enjoyed remaining active and fit by going on walks in the park or along the coast. He was also more involved in the household choirs and with his meal preparation.
“During the 18 months that Daniel has been living at Oban Street, he has made excellent progress and we all look forward to continuing to support him as his skills and abilities improve,” adds Melany.