Real life stories
A place to live
Unlike Kathy, most of us take for granted that our home is our place of sanctuary, where we can feel secure.
Depending on our circumstances we expect to have some choice about where we live and with whom. However, people with learning disabilities, autism or mental health needs sometimes struggle to find a place of their own to call home, and often don't have the sort of choice most of us would take for granted.
Kathy, now in her fifties, was admitted to hospital when she was 13 after her behaviour became unmanageable at home. Kathy’s speech is limited, and she is on the autistic spectrum, a condition not well understood at that time. It would have been difficult for her to explain what she wanted. She lived in hospital until the late 1980s on a ward which housed 40 others under what has been described as “harsh conditions”.
When Kathy moved out of hospital she wasn’t given opportunities to choose to live with a partner, friends or on her own as many of us do. Instead she was moved to a community group care home with three other people, two of whom she didn’t get on with, whose tastes and needs were very different to her own. Like anyone living under these conditions Kathy became upset, making noise and causing property damage, and her housemates and neighbours started complaining. There was talk that she would have to move back into an institution.
Kathy’s life is now very different. We’ve helped her to tell us what she wants by providing support to learn new communication skills. Using these new skills Kathy told us she would prefer to live alone. She now rents her own flat in London. Having the right place to live with the right support has helped Kathy take more control over her own life. She makes the decisions about what happens in her own home, what she does and who she is supported by.
Kathy now gets out regularly and has her own hobbies and interests and lives peacefully alongside her neighbours.
We provide support to people living in many different circumstances - on their own, with family or partners, or with friends. The important thing for us is helping you find a place you can call home. This may mean helping you to find a better place to live, making adaptations to your existing home or finding the right technology to enable you to do more for yourself.
Read more about how our Positive Behaviour Support team (PBS) have helped Kathy by reading her story published in Community Living magazine.