It’s Learning Disability Week 2014. Alison has blogged for us about her 21-year-old daughter Gaby, who has been supported by Scope. Gaby has now left home and lives and works independently.
Our daughter Gaby has always known what she wanted – to finish college, get a job, and one day live in her own home.
She has always wanted to be part of the community, and she has the right to have an ordinary life just like anybody else.
Gaby has a personal budget because of her learning difficulties. So a couple of years ago, my husband George and I knocked on the door of a supported living service run by Scope, in our hometown in Worcestershire.
At the time, Gaby was in her final year at college. She was desperate to get out into the world and start life as an adult, but she needed support to build up her confidence and social skills.
The right support
We were introduced to Lottie, who runs Scope’s community support services in our area. She spent lots of time talking to Gaby about what she liked and disliked, and what she wanted out of life.
Then she matched Gaby up with Alice, a young support worker, and together they would do all the things Gaby wanted to do – shopping, meals out, going to the gym and out for walks.
The first time Gaby went into town shopping with Alice, somebody at work said to me, ‘Oh, I saw your Gaby in Bewdley with her mates on Saturday’. It was so nice – they just looked like two young people enjoying themselves.
The support we had from Scope gave Gaby the opportunity to be away from me and dad, so we don’t do the talking for her. Her confidence grew and grew.
Getting a job
Gaby has always wanted to work in catering, so we contacted a factory near our home to see if they could offer her a placement in their canteen.
However, the management were worried that the job would be too technical for Gaby, and it almost didn’t happen.
But then Scope matched us with another two support workers, Louise and Pam, to support Gaby at work. It was crucial in getting the company to agree to the placement.
We always knew that
Gaby could do it – and before we knew it, the canteen manager told us she was confident enough to go it alone. Now she goes to work unsupported, and she loves it.
Moving out of home
When a place came up in a supported house last November, with two girls Gaby already knew, it just seemed like perfect timing.
We’d always thought of it as a longer-term plan but Gaby had come so far in such a short time, and she knew she was ready.
It was a bit scary at first, of course, but Gaby is so happy with how things have turned out. She has her own life, and we know she always has access to a support worker when she needs a hand.
Now, to know that Gaby’s happy and settled – it’s such a relief, I can’t put into words. But we wouldn’t have got there without that support from Scope to prepare the way.