Some people take their Mum and Dad for granted because they see them so much. Not me. I’m Paul and a lot of my life, I’m 42 now, has been spent in social care as I live with severe autism and complex epilepsy and I have seen my family very little in all that time. I tried to keep in touch and kept sending Christmas or birthday cards and presents to them every year but received very few back from them. It was disappointing but I’m fortunate in that I’m not completely alone. The friends I’ve made over the last 16 years that I have been enabled and supported by ubu have always been there for me.
Last year. I felt that it was time to change the way things have been with my family in the past. I decided to really get to know my Mum. I can’t speak but I was able to let the ubu enabling team who work with me what I was thinking by pointing at a photo of my Mum. It was really great that they know me so well and understand the way that I communicate, I hoped so much they would pick up on what I wanted and they did thankfully.
The ubu enablers helped to kick-start the process almost immediately, by phoning my Mum to ask if I could visit her. She seemed open to the idea and so a few visits were arranged for me to go and see her. The visits went really well and the ubu enablers spent time talking to her, helping her to understand how important it was to me that we keep in touch more regularly and encouraged her to come to see me too. Even though my Mum knew she could visit me anytime she wanted, my enablers always made sure that I always felt up to seeing her and that she always felt welcome when she visited. This was a big step forward for me in building a better relationship with my Mum and the rest of my family too.
Every time my Mum visits she gets an update from my enabling team about what I have been up to. I think that she really enjoys hearing about the things I do and about how I’m finding better ways to express what I want to have happen in my life. For example, I love eating a meal with my Mum so now we try to get together around lunch-time. I enjoy having the enablers join us and help to keep the chat flowing between us.
Recently, I’ve found myself getting more and more excited every time my Mum has visited. I like to stand at the glass door looking out for her. I think that my Mum has started to realise just how much enjoy and look forward to her visits, because she has started staying for longer each time. Now my Mum comes every two weeks to see me and she knows that she is welcome to come whenever we’re both free.
Finding a way to spend more quality time with my Mum has made a huge difference to my life. I am able to let her know about the things I like and keep her up-to-date with all my news. By getting to know each other better she has become much more involved in my life, which is really a good thing I think. Nowadays she is even coming to some of my appointments with other health professionals. I love having her support and for the first time in what seems like forever she really feels part of my life.
I had the best Christmas ever last year when my Mum brought my sister along to visit with me. We had not seen each other in over 12 years, it was really special. They brought a huge bag of cards and presents from the rest of my family and so after all, it seems that those I had sent over the years had not gone unnoticed. I’m so happy that my family has come back to my life, just when I needed them the most.
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