Katie’s Story – Belstead Mews

November 21, 2016

Katie* aged 16, moved in to Belstead Mews back in February 2014. Katie is diagnosed with a learning disability, cerebral palsy and has epilepsy. When Katie arrived she struggled with social inclusion and when supported out in the community would approach people she did not know and talk to them in a very loud voice even if she did not know them.

The support team at Belstead Mews worked with Katie to develop some coping strategies around her behaviour management and social inclusion. This included using systems to support her to manage stranger danger when going in to the community and how to greet and speak to people she may not know and how to be polite without talking or shouting by utilising teaching methods including the use of picture cards.

Katie was finding it difficult attending her school placement so her support workers spent time understanding what Katie really enjoyed and worked closely with her care manager. Katie loves making phone calls and speaking to others on the phone so the support team devised a strategy with the care manager where each morning before leaving for school Katie would place a picture of a telephone on her weekly board which had each week day labelled on to it. On a Friday if Katie had attended school for Monday to Friday, on her return from school Katie would phone her care manager and update her on what she had done during the week and her plans for the weekend. This proved really successful in Katie returning to education and supported her to achieve her educational needs.

Over the last 22 months Katie’s support workers have listened to and observed activities that she really enjoys and participates in. Two of the main activities Katie enjoys engaging in are music and dance. Katie meets with her link worker on a weekly basis and they discuss and research different activities that she might enjoy in the local community.

Katie and her support worker found a local majorette troop that practised on a Saturday. With support Katie joined this group and since April 2015 has become an active member of the troop. Dancing alongside other people in the troop she has now learned the art of twirling. Katie has been such an inspiration to the troop that they have since introduced other members to the troop who also have additional complex needs. This has been such a big achievement for Katie, and has given her a real sense of success and belief.

With her much improved confidence around social situations, Katie attends the local befriending scheme on Saturday mornings and often meets the friends she has made when in town shopping.

Having successfully completed her secondary education Katie is thriving in college and uses the trains and buses with the help of the support team. She has become a very active member of the wider community where she lives and is looking forward to planning making the next steps in meeting her goals and aspirations.

*names have been changed to protect privacy