In April 2015, EQ took over management of two small group homes for young adults with significant special needs.
Our care approach draws on many influences but the American approach to behavioural modification known as IMPACT is of central importance. IMPACT is innovative, multidisciplinary, tailored to each individual, active, continuous and capable of encouraging transformation.
The story of Nora shows how a structured and focused approach can create transformation and overcome the effects of spending long years in institutional care.
Our earliest contact with Nora confirmed how she had been described. She had no motor difficulties but was extremely passive and inactive. She spent her time lying in the foetal position, refusing to engage with others or make eye contact. The team is skeptical about her capacity to change after being moved to our small group home. She is 28 and profoundly institutionalized having never lived in a family environment. Her official diagnosis pointed to deep mental retardation and visual impairment.
The earliest achievement of our care team in the small group home was encouraging her to walk with aid. She has grown physically and does not appear to be totally sight impaired. She readily stands and makes her own way to the dining area where she eats and drinks without assistance. She can negotiate stairs and find her way to her bed.
Nora needs reminders to use the toilet and can wash herself with assistance. She can dress herself but needs help selecting clothes.
As a result of consistent and appropriate care – food, consistent with her preferences, individual attention and encouragement to be physically active – we have created conditions in which Nora feels safe and secure. In her late twenties she is calmly making the transition from childhood to womanhood and shows emotional stability. She attends a day centre and enjoys her experience there gaining confidence in public places and among people.
A year after deinstitutionalization, Nora is ready for participation in cultural, social and recreational activities in the community. Nora has transformed.