Keeping the brothers together

03/10/2019

David, Daniel and Andrew (left to right)
Three brothers with learning disabilities,who were struggling to find support, are now enjoying better lives together.

Avenues was approached by the county council after the men’s previous service provider of 25 years closed down. “One of the brothers can have very challenging behaviour, and while the others have lower anxiety they all have complex support needs” explained Area Manager Hayley Taylor, “We were offered alternative options of working with one or two of them, but believed that separating them wasn’t in their long-term best interest, and wouldn't have fitted with our values. While we knew it would be a challenging task, we were determined to develop a service that would keep them together.

“Moving house is a stressful experience for anyone, but particularly for them, as they have limited capacity to understand the changes because of their learning disability, and their autism makes the process even harder for them.  It’s been tough, but the progress they have made in six months has been outstanding, and that’s down to them and the support team.  

Assistant Service Manager Ezekiel Awonusi said: “When they first moved in it became clear that they had experienced quite restricted lives. We knew that previously they hadn’t been allowed in the kitchen, and only be able to watch their food being made through a stable door. So just being in a kitchen was a bit mind-blowing for them.

“To start with it was pretty chaotic as they were really like kids in a sweet shop, pressing buttons, opening draws and running the taps.

“Very quickly we had them washing up, making toast and drinks. It was sad to see how few skills they had been able to develop, but really exciting to see them pick everything up so quickly.

All three brothers are enjoying their new life by the sea in Birchington, and also having the support they need do the things they enjoy as individuals. Oldest brother Daniel, who has the most challenging behaviour, had never been into a supermarket but now looks forward to his weekly grocery run. David is a member of the local sports centre and loves to swim, and youngest brother Andrew takes every chance to turn up the stereo.  

The brothers’ dad, Bob, said: “There are so many options for parents of children with learning disability, and so many providers, and it can be daunting when you’re making choices on their behalf. But we’re delighted with the support Avenues is giving them and the progress they’re making. They’re living a different life now, with far more independence and freedom. They seem happy, which is all any parent wants for their family.”

David enjoys a fist-bump with new friends

Daniel enjoys getting out to the shops

Andrew getting stuck into a healthy lunch and listening to his favourite songs