Every year, we receive hundreds of referrals from residents who struggle with a lack of access and functionality in their homes due to disabilities and ailments.
Minor works of less than £1,000, which include grab rails, lever taps and door entry systems can be organised by operational staff.
Major works traditionally include work such as level access showers, stairlifts and ceiling track hoists. These are handled by Leanne and Michele in our aids and adaptations team who work to enable or restore independent living amongst residents with both physical and non-physical disabilities.
Not many people know about aids and adaptations and the work it involves, so we caught up with one of our residents, Keisha, to share her recent experience with our team.
Keisha is a single mother to one boy and four girls. As a toddler, her oldest child, Jayshaun, began to display the symptoms of autism and developed severe learning difficulties, anxiety, and behavioural issues as he grew up.
Jayshaun tends to be quite reserved and enjoys his own space, both at home and at school, which makes social interactions difficult for him. But he loves watching cooking shows with his mum, solving puzzles and spending time outdoors.
Over the years, Keisha has worked hard to maintain the health of her children through healthy diets, behavioural work and patience, but keeping the peace between five siblings is never easy.
Jayshaun enjoys spending time in the front room but doesn’t like sharing the space with any family members including his sisters who’ll have to stay in their rooms instead. He is non-verbal and communicates mainly through PECS (a system of communicating through pictures) and Makaton (which mixes speech and signing) but when frustrated or misunderstood can often resort to violence towards his environment, family, or himself to communicate or relieve frustration. This created a high-risk environment for the whole family.
Keisha came across the aids and adaptation process through her occupational therapy team and housing officer after discussing the possibility of having a space especially created for Jayshaun. She said: “I just really wanted him to have his own space so he can be comfortable and not hit, kick, push, punch us in the house, because it can be daily.”
Keisha’s local authority was not going to fund the work from the Disabled Facilities Grant as it didn’t fall under traditional aids and adaptations, but Keisha’s housing officer, occupational therapist and the aids and adaptations team saw the benefit and value of creating a space for Jayshaun and brought the case to senior management who approved the funds to build a summer house in Keisha’s back garden.
Contracted by Garden Spaces, the summer house only took one week to build and came equipped with a glass door, heating, and electricity. Soon, Jayshaun was able to enjoy his outdoor space and the rest of the family could also enjoy the entire house.
When we spoke to Keisha about the impact the work has had on Jayshaun, she said: “It’s his sanctuary. He’s happy coming home because he knows he has his own space and his sisters can see how happy their brother is which makes them happy too.
“My [aids and] adaptations team were amazing! And I know they looked into a lot of things and pushed to make sure things got done. I’m just so grateful.”
Recently, the aids and adaptations team have been getting more referrals to support parents with autistic children with various works and we’re proud to have the small but strong team of Leanne and Michele, working diligently to ensure we can help as many residents as possible restore their independence. Residents who feel they may benefit from having aids or adaptations done in their homes can consult their housing officers or occupational therapists for advice and support.