Building Better Lives: Ben’s Story

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Scenario: In the past

Scene 1: Meet 19-year-old Ben who has learning disabilities
Ben lives at home with his mum and dad. He was assessed as having learning difficulties at an early age and attended a special school.  As he got older he was given a personal assistant to help him.

Scene 2: Ben is used to decisions being made for him.
Everyday he travels with his personal assistant to special day centre for people with learning disabilities. He doesn’t spend time in the local community because he isn’t used to different environments.

Scene 3: Ben doesn’t mix well with other young people and relies on his personal assistant for support
Ben is dependent on having a personal assistant. He doesn’t believe he is capable of joining in with other people his age who don’t have disabilities. He is used to other people making decisions for him and never develops aspirations for his future.

Scene 4: Ben spends his days in a day centre and doesn’t experience community life
Ben does not plan to go into employment. He has attended a day centre since the age of 17 and still needs help travelling anywhere. He doesn’t feel able to take part in activities going on in his local community as he is used to a certain environments and specialised activities.

Scene 5: Ben moves to supported accommodation
Ben is moved to supported accommodation as his parents can no longer cope looking after him at home. Ben has not had the opportunity to be independent, to feel included in society. By providing specialist support and settings from an early age, Ben focused on obstacles and felt isolated within his own local community and unable to do things for himself.

Scenario: In the future

Scene 1: Ben lives at home with his parents
Ben lives at home with his mum and dad. He was assessed as having learning difficulties at an early age.

Scene 2: Ben is supported in accessing local activities and schools rather than only ‘specialist settings’ for people with learning disabilities.
Ben went to a local school and is now at college, he is supported by teaching assistants and also has an ‘Inclusion Coordinator’ who helps him get involved in local activities such as Scouts and karate, this also helps his parents have some time off during the week.

Scene 3: Ben wants to work and is supported by the Enablement team to achieve this.
During meetings to develop his ‘Person centred plan’ Ben identifies that he would like a job and works with the Enablement Team to build up his skills and confidence.  After attending a work club, he decides he’s interested in building. He is helped to find a placement.

Scene 4: Ben finds a job and is helped to achieve his ambition of travelling to work alone with help from his uncle.
With support from the Enablement Team Ben secures a job with a local building company. One of the goals on Ben’s ‘Person Centred Plan’ is to learn to travel to work independently.  Ben’s ‘Enablement team’ know that his uncle works not far from Ben, they ask him if he’d mind being Ben’s ‘travel buddy’ until he feels confident to travel alone.  It is important his uncle understands his part in Ben’s journey and has his contribution valued.

Scene 5: Ben is able to help others in his own position to travel to work alone.
Ben has just signed up to be a travel buddy himself to help other people with disabilities to travel alone.  He will do some training before starting to support Oliver, another young man who lives in his neighbourhood.

Scene 6: Ben wants to be as independent as possible in the past.
Ben feels confident that one day he will move out of his parents’ house and have a flat of his own.  He has two close friends and they are starting to think about how this might work for them.

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