Lyndon is a lively, smiley, young man who enjoys being active and loves making music, singing to himself throughout the day. He has an autistic spectrum condition and a moderate learning disability. Lyndon does not use speech very often and it can be very difficult for him to communicate his needs and wishes. Imagine how frustrating this must be.
As well as his family, Lyndon is supported by Grace Eyre staff in his day to day life. For the past five years, Tim has supported Lyndon every week. It was Tim who spotted an opportunity to help Lyndon overcome his frustrations and express himself more fully – he arranged for Lyndon to have a new iPad and accessible software, donated by Sussex Police. After a few weeks of practising with the software and exploring it with Tim, Lyndon tapped out ‘I feel happy’. This was just the start.
Having a new way of interacting has encouraged Lyndon to become more verbal. Tim says, ‘one day when I arrived and wished him a good morning he said “good morning Tim” whilst also signing it with Makaton. That was the first time he has said that to me in five years of working together’.
Tim was encouraged not only by how verbal Lyndon was becoming but how independent too. On a regular trip to McDonalds, Tim programmed in some new buttons so that Lyndon could order himself when he got there. ‘He became very excited by the idea. When it was time to go he went straight to the bus stop although we normally walk! Lyndon led the way. When we arrived, Lyndon tapped out “I want a strawberry milkshake”. Then he deleted it and handed me back the iPad. I gave it back to him and said ‘you can order yourself’ so he joined the queue and typed in the words again with the McDonalds staff watching. They were so excited that two staff members wanted to serve him and he ended up with two shakes!’
Now, Lyndon is using the iPad in lots of new ways. He is becoming a keen photographer, using the iPad to take pictures which he later enjoys looking at. This allows his family to see what he has been doing during the week and talk with him about it. Lyndon also likes the sound of the camera clicking, a satisfying sensation.
Music has always been a touchstone for Lyndon and his family. Tim says ‘he has an amazing ability to hum refrains from classical music…and his father can always tell me the name of piece. I can then find it on YouTube and Lyndon will happily listen to the entire composition. He will also pick out other videos to watch from the YouTube suggestions. This has given Lyndon some of the control over his leisure time that most of us take for granted’.
This is the kind of person centred care that drives us all at Grace Eyre. Other staff help Lyndon to enjoy the outdoors and to prepare and cook his own food at the allotment. These actions by Tim and his colleagues improve Lyndon’s quality of life. We are only at the start of finding out what this young man can achieve.