Gaby with her parents

Learning Disability Week 2014: Gaby’s story

It’s Learning Disability Week 2014Alison 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.Gaby looking at camera

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.Gaby and Alice walking down the street

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 tGaby working in a kitchenhe 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 alGaby in her roomways 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.

Find out more about Learning Disability Week 2014 and Scope’s community support services.

One thought on “Learning Disability Week 2014: Gaby’s story”

  1. I am really pleased Allison to read your blog about Gaby and to learn of the success your daughter is having with her life, this is a success story both for you , your daughter and Scope.
    That Scope are a great organisation is beyond doubt.

    So it is with regret that I feel the need to tell my story,

    My daughter is 51 she is profoundly disabled ,has neither speech or controlled movement, she spends all her waking hours in her wheelchair
    eats and drinks only when someone places a cup to her lips..

    She has been in a Scope home for some 12 years and with their help lives a fulfilling life within a happy community of some 38 others, has developed considerably over the years, and with the help of the onsite facilities at the home and a local art teacher has been able to hold 3 art exhibitions in local libraries.

    Her happy disposition stems from the stimulus she gets from being able to spend time with the other residents, the dedication of her carers, who because they know her well are able to converse with her even though her only way of communicating is through her eyes, she raises them for yes and lowers them for no, and of course many other expressions which can be understood only by those who know her well.

    To see her looking at and holding hands with a male resident is a joy to behold.

    Sadly this is all going to end, Scope are planning to close the home, and this group of friends and carers will be dispersed into small 3 bed council run homes on housing estates. Where loneliness and isolation will be the norm, where on many days she will be with only three people
    life will have little meaning

    To say that this will be disaster for her is an understatement, for us parents now in our late 80s this is unbelievably sad .

    We had hoped that when we go we could at last find peace knowing that she was in good hands, but this is not to be.
    Frank Lindsell

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