9 May 2018 in Stories, Uncategorised

At Interchange our passion is helping people live good lives. Recently we teamed up with Focus Therapy to address some issues that were facing one of our lovely people, Travis.

A young man who loves being active and part of his local community, Travis relishes attending Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre gym and pool, and when indicated, have a post-workout treat.

Interchange has been supporting Travis’s attendance to the gym and pool but we were experiencing a few challenges. There were triggers at the Centre that interrupted his planned activities and led to distress. Whilst Interchange could identify the triggers it was difficult for them, and staff from the Centre, to communicate with Travis when he was distressed.

We decided to partner with the team at Therapy Focus to help achieve new outcomes.

It was clear Travis wanted to exercise more choice about what he did at the gym and the pool. Therapy Focus worked with Travis, his family and his Interchange supporter to develop a Communication tool that both helped him to communicate his choices, and his supporter to confirm the treat wasn’t forgotten. Travis had the opportunity for a treat, if he chose, at the end of his exercise session.

Together, we developed an approach focused on helping Travis achieve his goal. This saw the creation of, Team Travis, which included his mother Janet, staff from both Interchange and Therapy Focus, staff from MARC, and of course, Travis!

Our shared strategy started with a simple initiative supported by the Centre staff: Travis was to enter through a staff only door, removing the trigger of the behaviour.

Next, the visual Communication tool developed by Therapy Focus was introduced. This helped the Interchange supporter and the Centre staff provide Travis with choices, and a sense of control.

Almost immediately, the behaviours reduced and new routines were developed.

The strategy was simple, but most importantly, it worked. Travis now regularly attends the gym and pool, enters through the same door as everyone else, and enjoys a treat from the cafe, if indicated.

The Therapy Focus / Interchange collaboration continues to be successful because we share beliefs and values. We put the person at the centre of our work, we involve family, and others who know each person in our planning, we look at the adaptions needed to overcome barriers and we strive to help people with disability share ordinary spaces and be part of their community.

Our CEO, Justin O’Meara Smith recognises, The people we support benefit when we listen to them and their families. Travis was trying to tell us something but we needed a better way to communicate with him and Therapy Focus helped us to do that. Our collaboration drew on the strengths and talents of our teams and, most importantly, creates a shared plan that is greater than the sum of its parts. We love that there is one plan that brings our teams together to help Travis achieve his goals.

We are all thrilled at this positive outcome and look forward to assisting more of our people live a good life.


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