Lou has particularly struggled with lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic as all of her independent skills have been affected. For the first time in 14 years, shopping has had to be done for Lou instead of with her, St Albans Community support staff have been running her errands, her allotment sessions have been cancelled and she was not allowed, following government guidelines, to leave her flat more than once a day.
The month of May has always been a particularly difficult time for Lou. However, thanks to a Positive Behaviour Support intervention, Lou had lots of plans to look forward to including re-decorating her flat, ordering new furniture, outings with staff and friends and a beach holiday. Unfortunately, the pandemic meant that everything had to be put on hold.
Lou said; ‘I was looking forward to my holidays and having my flat decorated in purple, I have been saving for months and was difficult for me to hear that everything got cancelled.’
Focusing on the positives
Lou’s key worker Raquel is the Positive Behaviour Specialist in the community and together they put together a special alternative plan for the month of May. Therefore, this plan meant that her toughest month combined with the pandemic has become an easy and very memorable month for Lou. ‘I had a tough start in May and was getting very worrying thoughts, May is a very difficult month but with the alternative PBS plan I was able to enjoy it and discover new skills, passions and I have lots more monkeys in my flat now’ said Lou.
Coping skills & challenges
- Lou loves monkeys so they bought lots of board games with that theme.
- Jars of positive moments where Lou collects positive moments of the day/week. Staff, friends and family share their favourite moments with Lou.
- Jars of ‘coping skills’. Lou, staff and family help Lou to fill the jar with strategies to reduce her stress. Such as walks, baths, baking and reading.
- New challenges! Lou has discovered her passion and skills with food. She’s challenging herself to cook more and more complex and tasty recipes. Twice a week, a board of ‘very experienced’ judges, get to score Lou’s meals in areas such as presentation, variety of ingredients, healthiness, ambition, taste, smell, initiative, creativity. By creating a forum that Lou can show off her dishes, this has ignited a real passion and taken away a lot of the worries around the month of May for her.
‘Raquel has helped me realised that I love cooking and that I actually am a very good chef! Raquel was amazed at my delicious paella, she is Spanish and is her favourite dish.
I enjoy seeing staff enjoying my food, it makes me feel very proud. Nick (St Albans Community General Manager) was shocked at how tasty my Chilli con Carne was!’ said Lou.