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Support teams as extended family

Giving someone quality support depends on understanding them as an individual – their specific needs, what they like, what they don’t like, their background and simply how they’re feeling today. Connecting with people’s families is central to this understanding, and in Enfield Avenues works closely with mum Patsy Kehela to ensure we give her son the support he needs … 

Mum Patsy (left) enjoys working with the Avenues team to develop her's son support. 

“He finds it very hard to sit still, and his favourite outlet for all his energy is to walk. He sometimes goes to the gym but really prefers to be outside and loves to feed the animals in the local parks. He walks for miles and miles. While it can be exhausting, we’re thankful to him for keeping us all fit and healthy", said Patsy.  

“He was born with autism and a learning disability, but this became more complex when he was prescribed a drug called Largactil when he was 21. He instantly changed, and started displaying behaviours we had never had before, including the inability to be still for any more than a few moments. We now understand that this is a condition called akathisia which can be caused by psychtropic medication.”

While most of these behaviours, which can be challenging and unpredictable, are decreasing in frequency with the right support, her son’s need to keep moving rarely diminishes, so exercise is a key part of supporting him successfully.

Melanie Smith (above right) supports him in addition to her other role as a strength and conditioning trainer - “I really enjoy working with him because we both value exercise. We’re a great match and have a great rapport. We walk for hours every day. His home is ideally located for him, as he’s surrounded by parks and woodland, and his mum has a nearby allotment where he goes to help out. He also likes to go to a dance club on a Friday so it’s pretty non-stop - he’s one of the fittest guys I know!”

Patsy visits regularly through the week and has a strong relationship with the support staff. She said: “We really are a team, and all want the best for him. I feel involved in the support he gets but they also know they can tell me if he’s is having a difficult day and it’s not a good time to visit. We all want the best for him so listening to each other is really important. The support staff feel like our extended family.”

 For more information about the support we offer, or careers with Avenues, visit www.avenuesgroup.org.uk