Creative communication makes a difference for Aaron
5th February 2021
Routine is so important for many of the people we support. Throughout the pandemic our staff have been coming up with lots of creative ways to help keep the people we support safe during the pandemic, and to reduce any distress they may feel because of changes to their routine.
Elaine, FitzRoy’s practice development lead, said: “I was working with Aaron, who lives at our supported living service in Basingstoke, to help him understand the process of the coronavirus swab test. At first he didn’t want the test – Aaron has autism and likes his routine so anything outside of his usual day to day can be difficult for him.
“I decided to write the information down in the form of an easy read for Aaron to make it really clear for him – easy read documents are an accessible way of providing information for people with learning disabilities. I gave him information on swab testing and then let him process the information for five minutes, then when I came back and asked him if it was all okay. He said ‘yes good thank you buddy’, which is what he says when he understands and is okay with something.
“I told him that at 2.30pm one of his favourite staff members will come and do the swab test, and because we kept to the exact time, and everything happened exactly as I had explained, he was completely happy to have the test and it went really smoothly.
From that point I knew that easy read information worked really well for Aaron, so I based his support on writing everything down in that form. Unfortunately, Jellicoe Court had a covid outbreak so I moved into the service to help. I used a social story to explain the situation to Aaron and showed him what he could and couldn’t do.
“He has been amazing at adapting and coping with the situation, for a man who has the same daily routine of buying his milk every day at 9.30am, he trusted me to do it for him because I explained it in a way that worked for him. Aaron has been an inspiration to me over the past week and I am so proud of him, and it also shows that easy read explanations can make an enormous difference. Our assistive technologist Carrie and I have created easy read explanations on so many topics for our staff to use, as well as bespoke ones for people who may have specific needs or concerns that need to be explained.
“It was a difficult week at Jellicoe Court, we went down to having only 50 per cent of the staff team in overnight, but the team made it a manageable week because they are all just incredible. They are kind, caring, look out for one another which is so important, and it made me so proud to work for FitzRoy. Everybody just pulled together like I have never seen. I’m glad to say Jellicoe Court is now in a stable situation thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.”