Jess is a support worker at Wheal Gerry in Camborne, Cornwall. Jess and the team support three young men with autism and learning disabilities in their respective homes which neighbour one another.
Q: What previous experience of autism or learning disability did you have before joining Green Light?
A: I had tried agency work for just under a year, alongside numerous hospitality roles and a little office work.
Q: What kind of things do you and your team do on a typical day?
A: It can differ greatly- one day may consist of praise and positive reinforcement around day to day tasks in the home, another may be building confidence and creating a sense of security, strong enough for someone who is socially anxious to partake in 'normal' activities, such as a trip to the cinema, or a walk on the beach.
Q: What kind of things would you be doing to support the people living in your home?
A: Making an everyday routine, such as having breakfast, personal care and a daily activity an enjoyable experience. Consistency is a massive part of enabling a happy and healthy lifestyle for all of the guys I have worked with.
Q: What are the challenges & rewards of supporting people with autism & learning disabilities?
A: I have found the biggest sense of achievement at work has often come from the smallest of tasks. An unexpected smile in a previously challenging situation can make it all worthwhile! Knowing that I can make someone's day to day life better really is priceless.
Q: As you head to work; what do you most look forward to?
A: A certain gentleman waving in the window is always a delight!
|Wheal Gerry, Camborne|
Q: What has surprised you most about working with people with autism & learning disabilities?
A: I usually find more similarities than differences between the people I support and myself.
Q: Have you learned anything unexpected about yourself or your skills and abilities?
A: I am more capable of handling difficult situations than I first thought I was!
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: Being able to read people’s body language is important, alongside a caring nature of course!
Q: What's been the highlight of your career working with people with autism and learning disabilities so far?
A: Seeing progression, albeit tiny steps sometimes. Doing something worthwhile is so important.
Q: As you leave work, at the end of a typical day, how do you know you've done a great job?
A: I know I've done everything in my power to make someone's day to day life better. That's pretty awesome!