Empowering inclusion through the Safety Squadron program

Man and woman standing in front of a first aid box in Gateways

Pictured: Anthony and his Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner, Carolyn.

Working towards expanding his business and going on a holiday, Anthony is a part of our Safety Squadron, a program that allows him to be a valuable part of Gateways and a contributing member of a team.

Carolyn has been Anthony’s Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner for about three years. Her job is to make sure Anthony is safe and happy. She has seen Anthony change a lot during this time. “When I first started working with him, he was exhibiting lots of complex behaviours, he was assaulting staff, he was running off, he was highly agitated a lot of the time through his environment, and he had lots of issues with his eating.”

The Safety Squadron, started by a Gateways Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner, aims at giving participants a purposeful role within Gateways. Anthony joined the Safety Squadron after the team decided to expand their initiative to include other participants. “I thought of Anthony because he absolutely loves anything to do with safety and he loves working around the Gateways office.”

The Safety Squadron is a big part of Anthony’s journey. In the Safety Squadron, he checks first aid kits every week and makes sure the cars are safe by checking the fuel and tyres.

Being in the Safety Squadron has taught Anthony many important things. Carolyn says, “responsibility is one. He knows, like all of us, he has to come in, do his work. He gains recognition around the office, and it is a valued role.”

Young man checking papers and equipment part of a routine safety check
Pictured: Anthony performing his Safety Squadron duties.

“He’s now working, he’s engaged in lots of programs out in the community that he wasn’t before, he greatly enjoys community access, he goes camping overnight. He is generally a lot happier and probably a lot healthier; he’s been on a healthy eating program.”

Anthony is working towards going on a holiday to Queensland. Gateways is helping him plan this trip. He also wants to do more work at the Gateways office, like checking more first aid kits and helping in different places, such as Gateways houses.

Carolyn mentions, “the fact that at the Gateways office, he can come into this office and perform a role, and if he mucks up a little, that’s okay. It’s a safe environment for him to learn those skills and he has lots of people around him to support him. And it also works very well for people who work in the office, to feel a part of the culture that we have got people with disabilities here, and they’re doing valued work, and they’re interacting just like every other member of the workforce.”