Why Community Access is so important for people on the spectrum
Socially awkward is a term that comes to mind when I think about my son. Unlike most 16 year old boys who are hanging out with friends on the weekend, going to the movies, watching the footy or hanging out at the local skatepark, my son would prefer to spend time with his iPad or his PS4.
Jacob has online ‘friends’, but they’re not like the friends you and I have, more like acquaintances that he most likely will never meet in person.
There are no kids knocking on the door asking him to come round, there are no phone calls or text messages, and no birthday parties. It’s a quiet and introverted life mostly led from behind closed doors in the comfort of the four walls he calls home.
Since getting his NDIS plan he has made ‘friends’ with his support worker Anthony, and they ‘hang out’ every second weekend. This is great for Jacob, as it’s something he hasn’t experienced much in recent years. We would try to take him out as a family, but as he got older he became more resistant to going anywhere with us, and became more of a home body.
Jacob and Anthony go to the movies, play video games together, go for bike rides, and do the fun things that 16 year old boys should be doing.
Getting out into the community is great for Jacob’s social skills as well as his social and emotional development. He is experiencing new things and is constantly learning even if he doesn’t realise it at the time.
Jacob’s NDIS goal is to increase his community participation in activities that are of interest to him. With this goal we are hoping that Jacob will learn how to manage his emotions and behaviour within the community, and become more independent.
With the help of Anthony it is hoped that Jacob will be able to obtain his Learner’s Permit and will learn to drive so to help increase his confidence and independence.
However, good things take time, so this is a goal we’ll have to build up to. Until then we will enjoy the fact that Jacob is now having a more social weekends and is on his way to achieving his goals.
At SASI we offer Active Choice (Day Service) to help develop skills in communication, social interaction and independent living.
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