“Enabling Good Lives Waikato would like to thank Toby, his family and ConneXu for getting together to write this story and sharing it with us.”
"My life is very social now, I have an awesome farm job, great friends and have support around me for what I need it for" Toby's loving his good life.
Toby’s Story – from an interview with his parents, Aaron and Lois.
Aaron feels incredibly proud of Toby’s progress since he began recieving support from ConneXu. Toby and his parents, Aaron and Lois, enjoy a trusting and respectful relationship with ConneXu, conducive to an effective system of shared support.
Toby’s association with ConneXu started badly. He had a sudden loss of confidence and left the introductory interview almost before he arrived. However, Kate Shaw, the Operations Manager at ConneXu, persevered, earning Toby’s trust and friendship. Their friendship is still strong, and Toby, previously reticent, now shares his thoughts and plans with Kate as readily as with his parents.
Choosing the right support organisation
Lois and Aaron had strong reservations about placing Toby in the care of a community support agency after some negative experiences in the past. Therefore, they undertook extensive research, looking for somewhere close enough to Cambridge for easy visiting. During that time, they read a news article about ConneXu that aroused their interest. Then Disability Support Link suggested ConneXu might suit the family’s requirements for Toby, leading to that first meeting with Fern and Kate, and Toby’s abrupt departure.
Impressed by Kate’s competent, calm management of the situation and Toby’s unexpectedly positive response, Aaron and Lois began to appreciate the special qualities of the people at ConneXu. They soon discovered for themselves that Enabling Good Lives is the core focus at ConneXu.
Independence with support from ConneXu and family
Having seen parents in their 70s still caring for their adult child at home, Aaron and Lois wanted their son to have his own life, and to establish his place in the world. Independence, tempered by the knowledge that he had a caring family watching over his welfare.
To begin with, Toby spent a few hours every weekend at a home with ConneXu support staff; very soon he’d made his decision. He felt confident and ready to share a home in Te Awamutu with others, with support from ConneXu, close to his family in Cambridge, but on his own terms. Soon, he was making friendships of his own and developing the skills to run his own life.
For Toby’s parents, sharing their son’s support with ConneXu has achieved their goal. Previously vulnerable in social settings, Toby’s supporters have steadily developed his confidence, and enabled him to take pleasure in new experiences, meeting new people, to the extent he feels happy with.
Family is important to ConneXu
The family has always felt respected and valued by ConneXu, and soon learned that ConneXu staff listened carefully to their comments, asking their advice and sharing ideas. They’ve found ConneXu staff ready to step back and reconsider decisions if ever Toby or his family are uncertain about any aspect of his life with ConneXu, so that they are part of the decision process.
Flexible services adapted to support each person
Aaron and Lois have found ConneXu’s support services to be fluid in response to Toby’s changing needs, unlike the static systems of support they have seen provided by some other companies.
Linda, one of his present supporters, is an excellent example of the quality of facilitation and support provided by ConneXu. Lois and Aaron enjoy her spontaneous enjoyment in seeing Toby and his flatmates expressing their own personalities, growing in confidence to push out their boundaries and achieve their own goals with her support as needed. Aaron has found that Linda and her fellow support staff practise the principles of Enabling Good Lives in every aspect of their work.
Achieving personal goals with ConneXu and family support
Toby set himself a tough goal: he wanted to ride at the AvantiDrome, on the race track that poses problems for even experienced cyclists. With support from his dad, and new self-assurance, Toby worked his way through the Level One course with several other riders, achieving the technical coordination required to navigate the circuit several times. He came close to passing the test at first try, and is confident in achieving it next time. Meanwhile, he is revelling in his ability to circuit the track successfully.
Aaron is proud of the way Toby was willing to test himself on such a challenging track. Aaron manages Wheels in Motion at the AvantiDrome, which offers recreational and exercise opportunities to anyone eager to give cycling a go, on cycles that are stable, fairly technical trikes – immensely enjoyable to ride whatever your age, fitness or ability.
Toby’s other passion is working on the land – his farm job brings him enormous happiness, and working with his parents at the Cambridge community gardens is a regular activity. The exercise and fresh air is beneficial, but, most of all, Aaron has been delighted with Toby’s increased confidence in social settings such as the gardens since moving to ConneXu.
Supported to be successfully and safely independent
For his parents, the highlight of this experience has been to see Toby living independently of their care, something they had thought impossible. Now, to see him flatting with two other young men, learning the skills he needs to manage everyday life brings them profound pleasure. With 24-hour support from ConneXu, he has taken up the challenge of living his own life, a step he wanted to take, but without knowing how to achieve it.
He has learned to make his own connections in his community, and live the life he has chosen, safely supported and encouraged by ConneXu.