As we enter World Autism Awareness Month, what an amazing time we now find ourselves in! I hope you are safe and have been able to successfully and comfortably design your stay at home strategies.
Gateways – along with all other businesses – has had to seriously adjust our practices and the nature of support that we can offer. But we have a plan and it is working well.
In the last little while we have focused on two things
- making sure we can keep participants and staff safe, and
- making sure that we can continue to offer supports to help you.
There have been lots of changes in our residential services and I am very grateful for your support while we have worked though these. I know things have been changing quickly and your responsiveness is greatly appreciated. Our priority now that we have set preparations in place, is to ensure we provide good strategies to keep in contact with you.
In this newsletter, you will read about some of the huge changes to the way we offer day activities and therapy services.
- Our Social Connect staff are now helping to keep participants engaged during the day. Given that many favourite activities have been cancelled – including our beloved football – this has been tricky, but we are seeing a whole new set of interests being explored.
- Among our new Gateways Online service we are kicking off with online Zumba, bingo and even Netflix parties! Now we don’t have to be envious of the fun others were having –the whole house is very welcome to join in!
- The therapy team is also offering unique and tailored solutions to enable these supports to come to you over the internet as you will read about in Raymond’s story.
- We have also reached out to Warringa Park School to offer further assistance from individual support and therapy.
Wonderfully through these changes we have also seen things that we have not seen before, including
- A care team meeting where the largely non-verbal and very busy participant (who does not usually attend meetings) engaged with multiple people via Zoom; face right up to the screen, big smile! How cool is that?
- A young participant took his iPad (with his therapist connected) after a therapy session and played the piano for her. Equally cool!
These challenges also bring out the best of everyone and you might have already seen in the various #thekindnesspandemic and similar local groups popping up online and on social media to share inspiration on how we can support others.
Similarly, while we have been hunkered down working out our own response, we are mindful of – and grateful to – the healthcare workers and those in our local communities who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. We are also very grateful for the assistance that Barwon Health, the Distillery and many other suppliers have provided us.
Of course, this is all happened while we were in the middle of planning our move to Thompson Road, North Geelong, to create an exciting new space for community togetherness. While on hold for physical activities we are still planning and designing hard. We have many ideas for activities and services that we are working through that are in response to your needs and ideas that you have raised over time.
We will soon provide some links to virtual tours so that you can watch the transformation. In the meantime, as always, if you have any questions or ideas, please email me email@example.com.