Shaun enjoys his time at Share and although shy he’s very friendly. When he first joined us he preferred not to speak. He didn’t like going upstairs in the Share building and would seek out quieter, calmer spaces downstairs. But he did enjoy our kitchen area and started in our catering programme. Busy places with lots of noise can be stressful for Shaun and he often waits for the daily noise and bustle of others getting to their classes to die down before he starts in the kitchen.
Shaun has mastered many catering skills and as his confidence grew he joined our My Community and Me project. It aims to develop independent living skills by teaching students both in the classroom and out in the community. This meant that Shaun needed to venture upstairs in the Share building and go out on trips with his group. With the support of tutors and his fellow students he embraced the course and succeeded in making the transition.
Shaun loves being out in the community and getting involved. When we visit local services like the pharmacy or opticians, we create tasks for students to practise important life skills like locating items and asking shop staff for help if needed. Shaun confidently asks questions about healthcare and easily finds things in shops. He’s become more independent and able to make his own choices.
Because Shaun had previously been based in the kitchen getting out like this was a huge change in terms of routine. It meant being with a new group, leaving the safety of the Share building and in the case of visiting a gym group, wearing different clothes. So we created easy read letters and images to help Shaun see what the day would be like and what happens at the gym. This helped him take it all in his stride. He loved travelling on the bus and trying different exercises with the coaches each week.
One thing we realised fairly quickly after meeting Shaun was that he loves music, talking about his favourite artists and songs and singing along to them. Shaun really engages in conversation with his class-mates too – generally about television, but he is not shy to express what pleases him. He loves it when his friends acknowledge his sense of humour and will rise to the moment.
Shaun also studies arts and crafts at Share. He’s able to express himself using the iPad and has developed his own style of creative mark making. He works with focus and dedication. Art makes him smile, and we’re very excited to see his digital artwork develop.
Shaun has come a really long way since he started with us. His confidence and enthusiasm have grown immensely, and now he talks a lot of the time. He’s incredibly friendly and always says hello. He preferred to eat his lunch alone when he first joined, but now he always chooses to eat in the dining room with other students. Recently, with a big welcoming smile he pulled a chair back for Annie, our CEO, to join him and his fellow students at the table.
Commenting on Shaun’s progress at Share his mum said, ‘Well, he talks a lot more now. He asks more questions… We’re seeing so much more of his caring side now. He asks me now, “Do you need a hand?”… Yes, he’s happy in himself and he’s progressing.’
This article was written in November 2019.