Coping with Change

Feb 02, 2016

From right to left: Charles volunteering in a day care kitchen; receiving a high five from staff, BB, and AP; rolling dough out to make scones from scratch, and proudly showing off the morphed Dino Charge and Plesiocharge Mega Zord he successfully saved up for. 

Charles (or CW as his friends call him) is a 22-year old adult diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has been living in Residential Support with Entrust since 2013. 

In spring of 2015 Charles struggled with transitions of key staff changes both at Framework for Life and at home. His way of coping with the stress was to establish rules that would give him control - for example, he must be picked up at 1:30 pm, or must be able to watch the Price is Right at 11:00 am. If there was a slight change to his routine on any given day he would become verbally or physically aggressive and neglect his hygiene.

It was clear the transition of new staff effected Charles deeply. Charles' team including his Framework for Life mentor, behavioural specialists, the assistant manager and service manager worked tirelessly to formulate the most effective person-centred plan that would help Charles construct his world more positively and empower him to better handle transitions. With changes to his medication, visual guides to help him prepare for upcoming events and changes, and a consistent behavioural plan followed at both Framework for Life and at home, Charles has been able to thrive and face each day with a smile.

One innovative approach the team came up with was having Charles use a PVR device to record his favourite TV shows. Charles never misses a show, and now has the freedom to watch episodes anytime. Charles has even gained the confidence to ride the public transit system independently, and leaves the Framework for Life programming everyday at his preferred time of 1:30 pm.   

We are happy to report that Charles has not displayed any aggressive behaviour since September 2015. Now, Charles is excelling in his volunteer role baking in a commercial kitchen, is developing positive relationships with his peers and staff, can save enough money over a 5-week period to buy toys. In January, he bowled for the first time in 9 months and received high-fives from the entire Treehouse Framework for Life team for his efforts and positive attitude. At home, he is getting along with his roommate and is earning a small monetary reward for doing hygiene tasks. 

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