Today is Troy’s first day at TAFE and the excitement, or is it anxiety, is starting to build.
Troy is a middle-aged man who has bi-polar and can suffer from severe anxiety and depression. At times, this instability in Troy’s mental health impacts his motivation and ability to actively engage in the community. Ultimately, Troy’s aim is to live as independently as possible in the community. Troy’s Care Team actively engage with him to help him achieve this goal. On a daily basis they monitor his moods, provide support and advice and put in place measures to ensure that his disability does not become a barrier.
As CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning’s Positive Behaviour Support Specialist it is my role to collaborate with Care Team members to identify strategies that will provide best-practice behavioral support to all participants. This includes identifying and building on strengths that the participants already possess, modifying environments or routines to get best outcomes, offering positive reinforcement and providing coaching on self-awareness of body language and tone of voice. I also collaborate with the Care Team members to develop support plans, along with gathering information through the development and implementation of procedures for monitoring behaviour.
My role is hugely rewarding. Seeing the transformation in the people we support, as they move towards achieving their goals, is marvelous. In the case of Troy, witnessing his evolution through the diligent implementation of positive behaviour support strategies empowered him to achieve a positive outcome- attending a Literacy and Numeracy course at TAFE. To some, this may seem a small step, but it is significant in his personal journey and one that will assist Troy in all aspects of his daily life.
At the end of his first day at TAFE Troy came home a little worn out, full of pride and with a big boost to his self-esteem. The feeling was mutual.