Roles and Relationships: Patterns of Support

In order for Adam to live a happily independent life in his new home, the next focus for the circle was to ensure that he would be supported to do so. So a smaller circle subgroup was formed to begin to sketch out what an ideal pattern of support for Adam living in his own home will look like.

This was based on the roles and relationships for Adam that make sense in his life. Always keeping in mind the values and ‘specialness’ of Adam’s existing system and team. This involved working out ways to maintain values and ensure these values would be instilled in new team members.

Adam with members of his family

Developing a workable pattern of support involved two main stages:

1. Mapping Life:
A week of Adam’s life in his new home was mapped out in detail. This helped to clarify and identify support systems, housemate roles and qualities as well as budgeting considerations- and raised LOTS of further questions.

2. People and Roles:
The second part of identifying patterns of support was to look at the people in Adam’s life and their role in supporting his move. After documenting the routine things that need to happen to ensure a good day, the group focused on working out how best to make these things happen once Adam is living in his own place. This was approached by defining four groups of people in Adam’s life and then plotting who would be most appropriate to support Adam with each task, as his circle imagined Adam in his own home.

Housemates: The importance of maintaining natural roles for housemates while being around and supporting Adam at home was discussed. A concern raised was the need for housemates to plan their schedules so that paid support could be tied in to compliment seamlessly the support housemates provide. That this is not something that people usually do. So a challenge is how to balance flexibility and spontaneity in life with obligations.

Ad Chris 2

Adam with supporter and housemate Chris

Paid Support: It was decided that personal care sort of work should not be left to housemates – that the support that housemates provide should as much as possible reflect what goes on in a typical share house. So it was felt that a paid staff member should arrive in the morning, get a brief run down from whichever housemate is still around, and then assist Adam with showering, dressing, packing a bag and getting on with the day.

Adam with supporters

Adam with supporters

Family: Although Adam’s family will see him regularly there would be specific times when they will play a role in Adam’s support, at least initially.

Adam and his family

Adam and his family

Circle: It was decided that the circle would largely continue as before, with someone scheduled to spend time with Adam on weekends. It was noted that the circle may become more committed to this once Adam moves out, as Adam’s family wouldn’t be immediately on hand as a fall back option.

Ad and Tony

Adam with his uncle Tony

It was also decided as part of this process that a Co-ordination role could play an active part in developing these support systems. Initially in the planning for Adam’s move, a Lifestyle Assistant could help to organise, implement and manage communication around Adam’s new ‘pattern of support’. S/he could also organise trial weekends for Adam and consolidate, manage and expand new opportunities including work and volunteer roles. The part time position was advertised (via the Ethical Job website) and filled in April 2014.

Watch this video to find out more about developing Adam’s pattern of support.