John has a lovely, open character, but his happiness is fragile. Without positive reinforcement, he can slip easily into depression and a state of negativity. John lives at The National Autistic Society's Somerset Court service.
Normally, John is very sociable and affectionate, enjoying chatting to people and asking the same few questions over again, just to get the right response.
Recently, John was diagnosed with dementia, in its early stages. His hands have a noticeable shake, which has now stabilised, possibly because of his medication. John can lose track of time and is beginning to forget what he’s supposed to be doing. At 57, his physical health is good, and John is able to lead a full life.
His diagnosis has not prevented John from participating in learning activities. Despite the tremor in his hands he is keen on art classes, where he has been making a series of tapestries. One has been made into a cushion cover for his new room. Photos of previous work are included in John’s file, so he can look at what he has achieved.
Music is important to John. Like many people of his generation, he plays a lot of music from the 1960s and 70s. There is a sensory room in John’s house, where he can relax and listen to music while looking at his photo albums.
John treasures his photo collection, which features the people he has met through his lifetime. He has many albums and boxes of photos, which he loves to look at. There is one of him as a child, with his friend, Daisy, who also lives at Somerset Court. John loves Daisy and visits her for coffee a few times a week. Daisy isn’t so sociable unless there’s a motivator, such as food at the end of the visit.
They are going on holiday together soon, to Newquay. They will stay in a caravan for four days, accompanied by John’s key worker from Somerset Court and one of the senior practitioners.
Every week, John goes to the Gateway, a local social club for adults with learning disabilities. He also enjoys shopping, going to the pub, and anything else that involves social contact.
John also has regular one-to-one A.R.R.O.W tuition. A.R.R.O.W is an acronym for aural, read, respond, oral, write, and the programme helps improve his reading, spelling, speech and listening skills. It is also good for his self-esteem, as he makes discernable progress within each session for which he is congratulated by his tutor.
The future for John is decided by a circle of support, where everyone involved with his wellbeing contributes to decision making. Due to the ill health of his parent, the main decision maker is now the local authority, who pays for his support. Staff at Somerset Court are hoping to be able to support John whatever the future brings.
During the renovations at Somerset Court, John has moved from one house to another, and the change has been noticeably good for him. His old room was smaller and rather dull, but now he has a bigger, lighter room, with his own ensuite bathroom. When faced with such a major move at Somerset Court, there is usually a planned transition. People visit their new home for short periods until they are happy to make the move permanent. John went for his second transition stay and refused to leave – staff say it has given him a new lease of life.