Amy and Julie's story
Like most 26 year-olds, Amy enjoys a good chat. But because of her learning disability, which also impacts on her growth and physical ability, she can sometimes have difficulty expressing herself in a way that others understand.
When Hft staff first met Amy, they realised that communication skills were going to be a priority if they were to support her to live the best life possible. They put together a programme using Makaton, a scheme using signs and symbols to support spoken language, and encouraged Amy to begin interacting with others during activities.
Amy’s mum Julie thinks that the staff members themselves have made the biggest difference. “They’re patient with her,” she says. “Rather than just jumping in and answering for her, they give her time to think about things. Even if it takes ten minutes, they’ll sit there with her.”
Three years on, and Amy joins in with conversations, which she rarely did before. She takes time to explain what she wants, and if someone still doesn’t follow, then she’ll find a different way of expressing herself.
Julie is thrilled with the dramatic difference in the way her daughter communicates. “Now she makes herself quite clear and people understand her a lot more,” she says. “We went to some relatives for the weekend and they could not believe the difference in her!”