A day in the life of… Kerri Denman, Senior Support Worker
Kerri joined Green Light in September 2017. She is a member of the Penrose Farm team near Truro who support five people with autism and learning disabilities.
Q - What previous experience of autism or learning disability did you have before joining Green Light?
A - I worked as a secondary school teacher, so had taught children on the autism spectrum and other learning disabilities before.
Q- What kind of things do you and your team do on a typical day?
A - There’s no such thing as a typical day! Every day is a new experience, could be a 10 mile coastal walk with stunning scenery, having dinner in the car at a Cornish beach, walks in the park, a trip to the zoo, or just relaxing watching a film. No day ever feels the same, there’s always a new challenge and new memories to be made.
Q - What kind of things would you be doing to support the people living in your home?
A - Supporting people to prepare meals, keep the home tidy, going on activities, visiting family. Supporting people to develop their independence and push their limits. It’s so rewarding when supporting someone to develop their communication skills for example and seeing the pride in their eyes.
Q - What are the challenges & rewards of supporting people with autism & learning disabilities?
A - I find that some days can be emotionally challenging, but also rewarding when you know that you have helped that individual overcome whatever obstacle they may have faced. The main reward is building that connection and trust with an individual which can then lead to some amazing experiences.
Q - As you head to work; what do you most look forward to?
A - I look forward to sharing experiences with my team members
Q - What has surprised you most about working with people with autism & learning disabilities?
A - That pretty much anything is possible with the right mindset, support and team around you!
Q - Have you learned anything unexpected about yourself or your skills and abilities?
A - I have a lot more patience than I thought!
Q - What kind of skills & values would you say people need to have, or develop, in order to be great at this kind of work?
A - I think you need to have an open mind and be willing to listen and take ideas on board. There’s no one size fits all way of working in this role, and you definitely need to be adaptable and able to think on your feet. I also think a sense of humour helps. You can have difficult days and it always helps to look for the positives on those days.
Q - What's been the highlight of your career working with people with autism and learning disabilities so far?
A - Taking an individual I support to Longleat Safari Park and having the best day out, even if we got stuck in lots of traffic, and we were travelling all day, we never stopped laughing and singing in the car!
Q - As you leave work, at the end of a typical day, how do you know you've done a great job?
A - My feet hurt! I also read back through my log and realise that, even if it may only be something small, I have helped someone achieve something, and that in itself is a big thing.
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