Two weeks ago, “Susan” opened a new chapter in her life by moving from her flat in Leeds to a new independent living flat in Knaresborough supported by ubu. Although Susan was very excited by the move, she was also perhaps understandably anxious and apprehensive about the big changes involved. She laughed, cried, shouted and stormed about - all in the space of minutes - during the first couple of days. Her emotions were, in her own words, “like a roller coaster ride and not being able to get off”. Susan has autism, and this makes facing change and communicating her feelings all the more difficult.
In addition to the anxiety from the move, Susan also has had a volatile relationship in the past with her mother. She was dreading the call from her mother that first weekend in her new flat. Would her mum be pleased and proud? Or would there be the emotional price to pay?
Well, everyone has witnessed an amazing transformation. Working with her enabling team, Susan began to feel she was in control for the very first time. Unfortunately, mum reacted with unhelpful and hurtful comments; but, Susan gained the courage to ask her mum the difficult yet important questions, “why are you doing this and why are you trying to hurt me,” and “unless you can be a supporting and loving mum, I do not want to know you.”
This may seem drastic, yet necessary for positive growth. It was an essential dialogue for Susan to have with her mother. From this, Susan’s life began to find stability. She walked taller, and the confidence she gained led to her getting two jobs in the space of a couple of days.
The transformation has not stopped there. With support from her enabling team, Susan has changed the way she dresses, walks and even talks. And she is proud, proud of taking control back and being responsibile for the decisions that affect her life. We are proud of her, too.
This week is World Autism Awareness Week, and ubu is marking the event by sharing stories of people like Susan. We believe that everyone should enjoy a quality of life that ensures that they are happy, fulfilled and respected. We work with people to enable them to live with greater independence, contribute their skills and experience to their communities, to seek meaningful employment and to find opportunities where they can interact.
You can read more about ubu support here.