This blog has been a very long time coming to fruition, in fact you could say that I have been preparing for it for nigh on forty years.
My experience started at the age of twelve when a neighbour who was an occupational therapist invited me to go along with her to a group of patients she was seeing on a Saturday. The morning was job time when the young adults who attended helped with packing sterile dressings for the nearby hospital. It was a busy time as they needed a lot of guidance but a jolly time was had by all and the task was soon completed in time for a tea break with real chocolate biscuits.
The afternoon was usually a time when the games came out and there was also a choice of things to make to take home. I had been asked to help because of my love of all things crafty and I was another helper to untangle wool, chase flying objects ‘inadvertently’ flying through the air and another gentle reminder that the equipment stayed at the club. I soon forgot that there were difficulties in communication or that the instructions had to be repeated more than twice and I found myself looking forward to every visit.
There were of course difficult times when tempers flared but we all learnt to help each other and to understand when a hug was needed. I became adept at reading body language and reacting in the appropriate way to rude words that always sent the room into giggling uproar. There were routines that some people had to go through to keep them calm and I learnt how important they are to an individual to enable them to move onto other things. That was my first big lesson and I had the patience and empathy to enable the person to enjoy the day within the restraints of their difficulties.
I helped out at the group for ten years and I can say that it was a rewarding and enriching experience. It set me off on a life with the desire to help others in what is still a confusing world.
I have a mantra that I go by to this day;
‘why is our way always the best way if we come to the same outcome’
Blessings always Alison Jane