Laely’s confidence to
communicate and connect with the world is coming on leaps and bounds, thanks to
Jenny, her volunteer Sense Buddy.
Laely is non-verbal and uses facial expressions, gestures,
vocalisations and picture symbols to express herself.
Since joining the Sense Buddying scheme, Laely has developed
a trusting, supportive friendship with her Sense Buddy.
Jenny has become an expert in Laely’s communication methods. They share many lovely moments of connection and plenty of giggles. Drawing together has become a unique means of conversation between the two, with Laely and Jenny taking turns to add to a picture before Laely proudly shows off the finished piece.
nothing quite like the great British countryside. Fresh air, green grass and
generous quantities of tea make the UK holiday experience something quite
special. It is more than flip flops, food and factor 50. It’s a time to take a
breather and focus on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. What makes Jack
special was his decision to use his holiday to focus on the wellbeing of others;
and he wouldn’t trade the experience for all the tea in Yorkshire.
has been exploring imaginative ways of supporting people with complex
disabilities to be dance leaders in the future. To develop this, a new
partnership between Sense, pioneering disabled choreographer Lisa Simpson, and
dancers from InterACTION are creating a new dance landscape.
One of the
guiding principles of Lisa Simpson’s dance sessions is that there is equality
between everyone taking part: between instructors and students, disabled and
non-disabled. A dance session is co-created between everyone who is taking
part, where each person is part of a bigger whole.
How Sense staff at a supported living service in Sheffield helped Martin to live a more independent life.
first met Martin after a referral from the local authority. Martin had been
living in a nursing home and staff were concerned that he was becoming
increasingly withdrawn and unwilling to interact with others. The home wasn’t
able to provide activities that Martin could participate in and there was a
general lack of routine which left him feeling anxious and unsettled.
With approximately 1.7 million disabled adults being cared for by family and friends across the UK it is important that we recognise the invaluable contribution that these carers make to society.
That’s one of the reasons Sense has partnered this year with Carers Week – to recognise, celebrate and champion the amazing work that carers do, and call for more support for carers and their disabled loved ones. Particularly when it comes to thinking about and planning for the future.
The Sense Awards are back for their 16th
year and now is your chance to nominate your Sense Superstar. The Awards
recognise the outstanding achievements of people with complex disabilities, as
well as those who support them.
From celebrating carers that have provided
outstanding support to their loved ones, to incredible fundraisers, or
companies that have developed a new innovative product helping those with
complex disabilities – there is a category for everyone and everything.
Late last year, I was really excited to see a press release from Heathrow talking about an app they were trialling to enable visually impaired people to be able to use the airport more independently.
Like a lot of
people, I find flying really stressful. I’m blind and hearing impaired and the
whole environment (from security onwards) is really tricky to navigate around,
plus it’s really noisy so communication can be challenging. All this can often
mean that the process of checking in can take longer, thus leaving less time
for important activities such as spending money in duty free and scoping out
the nearest bar! Even though you can
book support through your airline, you are still reliant on this being put in
place and working without a hitch, so anything that can give people more
independence is to be welcomed.
Chris Punt is a good example of someone who felt very isolated and depressed when much of her remaining sight was lost. It was a very tough time for her, but with the support of her Sense Communicator Guide she has built a new life for herself.
Some people can’t wait to retire from work, others can find this a difficult transition – especially if this has been forced upon them.
Chris had always loved her work, and the people it brought her
into contact with, but suddenly this was snatched away from her. “I spent my
entire life supporting children and adults with learning disabilities and
mental health difficulties,” she explains. “I did so many things. I had a
football team with Watford Football Club; we did a bereavement group, we did
music, art and craft. I just loved it so much.”
On Monday 29 April, the Sense Get Out
There (GOT) group, a community-based short break service that supports young
disabled people, celebrated its 10-year anniversary. To mark the occasion, HRH
The Princess Royal visited the group and was presented with a book of stories
written by disabled people marking their growth in independence.
Each person’s story reveals how much their life has been touched by the Sense GOT group. For some, it is the opportunity to experience new things and visit new places that keeps them coming back. For others, it is simply the chance to make friends. One thing is for certain, everyone has a story to tell.