Dream Team helps Alex Thomas future-proof plans Posted by Posted by Imogen Loakman on 6 March 2016 Posted on: 6 March 2016

Posted by Imogen Loakman

Posted on: 6 March 2016

Alex’s story is one of a series aimed at inspiring disabled young people.

Alex Thomas has similar aspirations to anyone in their mid-twenties. He’s looking to move out of home and into a flat; he’s developing his own business and he’s making friends while out and about in Christchurch.

Alex Thomas

Alex has a disability, but with the help of his family and his Circle of Support, he is achieving his goals and making plans for the future. The group of people in Alex’s Circle are aware of what Alex’s visions are, and they are there to support him and help with his decision-making.

Alex’s mum Sally started thinking about developing a Circle of Support for Alex after attending disability support conferences and hearing what other young people had been able to achieve with them. The challenge was getting started.

The first step was deciding who would be in Alex’s Circle. ‘His Circle is made of people that he is really close to and that really care about him. I thought of people who had the knowledge and skills to help Alex and wrote a letter to them – and they all said yes. People want to help and all you have to do is ask,’ Sally says.

Once Alex’s Circle, was established, an initial meeting was held with the help of a facilitator, Ruth Jones. The group started with introductions and then talked about how they knew Alex and what they would like to see him achieve in the next 10 years.

‘Greg and I got really emotional hearing what people had to say about Alex. He has reciprocal relationships. You often forget what value our disabled family members offer to other people,’ Sally says.

‘These people challenged our thinking with their visions for Alex and made us think about things that we might not have thought were possible. It’s great to have people to bounce ideas off,’ she says.

Alex is now fully immersed in planning the next steps in his life with the backing of his Circle of Support, the ‘Dream Team’. His first goal is to develop a micro-enterprise around his interests. Taking care of plants and pets is something Alex enjoys and a business is being set up with the help of his support workers.

He is also looking at going flatting by the end of 2014. ‘Without the Dream Team I think it would have taken longer to make progress on Alex’s plan.

Other people endorse the things we want to achieve, and it’s great to see that they think these things are possible,’ Sally says.

Alex’s Circle is there to support him long term, helping with his plans as they progress and change.

‘If something happened to us (Alex’s parents) we need Alex to be self- sufficient with support. By having a group who are aware of Alex’s visions we are future proofing, with as little constraint on Alex as possible, so that he can live the life he wants,’ Sally says.

Story taken from Christchurch's Enabling Good Lives Newsletter | December – January 2014

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