Ethan gets active at our day centre

21-year-old Ethan has a learning disability and autism, and he lives at home with his parents and his younger sister. He does not use verbal communication and has high levels of challenging behaviour, including harming himself and others.

His parents needed to find activities for Ethan to do during the day while they were at work. After 12 months of failed placements, the family were finally referred to one of Voyage Care’s day care services. The support team were asked to provide a package for 9 hours during the day (9-5pm) to find meaningful and age-appropriate activities.

Ethan was assigned a small team of support staff to give him consistent care and help him build relationships. The key focus for his support team initially was to understand and get to know Ethan’s triggers. His behaviour could include aggression, biting, kicking and scratching staff and initially there were around four episodes of serious challenging behaviour each day.

Ethan’s mum was anxious about introducing any new activities into his routine and feared any change would trigger an incident. As a result, his world had become quite small and his support team recognised he needed to experience new things and have the opportunity to take part in activities. His Voyage Care support team worked with Ethan and his mum to plan some new activities to try and change his routine slowly. Ethan always went to places that had no sense of community, like large shops or supermarkets. His support team found new places for him to visit where he could be recognised as a regular customer.

Over time he built up his confidence and now Ethan is a regular face at a number of local shops and cafes in his local community. He recognises staff and other customers and is recognised back.

Communication was the biggest barrier for Ethan, he had no speech and there was no set communication approach for him. A lack of consistency and understanding was making him frustrated and anxious, resulting in his behaviour.

The Voyage Care team introduced an iPad as a speech aid and also began working with Ethan to use flash cards so he could show his emotion. Now he had an element of choice which had been restricted before as the focus was always on his challenging behaviour. Quickly his support team could identify his likes and dislikes and could support him to make choices about what he wanted to do.

Serious incidents have decreased dramatically, from up to four times a day to just one or two a week. Ethan is taking part in a wide range of activities at the day service, including cookery classes, hydrotherapy and the Gym. He is now also going to pub regularly on a Friday night with peers and for the first time in his life, he is developing friendships. His parents are delighted with the successful placement and the changes they can see in Ethan. They are confident he is being kept safe, his behaviour has improved dramatically and he is accessing activities, trying new things and meeting new people.

Find out more about our Day Centre services here.

This person chose to remain anonymous, therefore, we have changed some information to protect their confidentiality.