The power of personalised programs

Matthew wanted to cope better in social situations, so Better Rehab Behaviour Support Practitioner Nathaniel Leon created a program that suited both Matthew’s personality and played on his strengths.

If you met Matthew today, you might find it hard to believe the extent to which he used to struggle with social situations, like navigating new places and meeting new people, as well as with everyday challenges that come from being out and about.

Matthew’s X-Linked Moderately Severe Intellectual Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Sleep Apnea, had not only caused him significant social and emotional difficulties, but they also resulted in severe chronic behavioral issues that left him feeling frustrated and lonely and struggling to form meaningful connections.

As his long-time key worker and primary support person Paul explains, “Matthew craves social situations and attention, however he lacked the social skills to safely navigate them without support. He was obsessively negative about people and places and, at times, voiced his feeling through habitual complaining, fits of anger and rage.”

With these insights from Paul, along with Matthew’s eagerness to participate, Better Rehab’s Nathaniel created a tailored program focused on improving Matthew’s social skills to help him build positive relationships, and cope better in social situations and with the challenges that can come with everyday life.

The program’s key features that transformed Matthew’s life for the better

Nathaniel created a program to gradually help Matthew improve his emotional literacy, including empathy, and emotion regulation, and develop social skills crucial to building positive relationships. The program also featured giving Matthew homework, which proved very effective, simply because Matthew loved it — and, as Nathaniel and Paul soon discovered, excelled at it.

“Matthew loves his homework, which involves writing three positive things about each day. This keeps him in the present, not lost in a traumatic past and creates a sense of gratitude. This turns his ADHD and OCD towards a more positive focus,” explains Nathaniel.

Over time, the homework exercise combined with lessons on empathy allowed Matthew to give and help others more, which in turn helped him foster stronger personal relationships.

Another part of the tailored program that proved effective in improving Matthew’s social skills was role-playing appropriate conversations “as it really helped Matthew relax and connect with people,” says Paul.

Working alongside Paul, who has been supporting Matthew for over 10 years, Nathaniel also created a positive environment where Matthew felt supported and safe to explore his emotions. The introduction of mindfulness exercises combined with the practice of building positive relationships proved instrumental in helping Matthew navigate social situations more effectively.

Smashing goals

Over the course of their sessions, Nathaniel saw remarkable changes in Matthew’s behaviour and outlook on life. Matthew’s verbal outbursts and habitual complaining were reduced significantly, allowing for more productive communication and positive relationships within his community. His self-esteem soared, empowering him to make choices that suited his needs and made him happy.

In addition to the program, Matthew enjoyed music as a form of therapy with daily music sessions becoming a powerful tool for channeling his energy and maintaining a positive mindset. Music, along with his newfound love of live music events, recycling and saving money all became sources of joy and enhanced his personal growth.

Matthew’s journey of transformation has been nothing short of inspiring. He now proudly describes himself as a “free man” revelling in his newfound happiness and ability to make positive choices that enrich his life.

Nathaniel and Paul are incredibly proud of Matthew, particularly for his dedication to the program and positive attitude that never wavered despite the challenges he has faced throughout his life. Today, Matthew is living his ‘best life’ yet and his story is an inspiration to everyone. “We are honoured to have been a part of his transformative journey,” says Nathaniel.

To learn more about Better Rehab and our comprehensive approach to allied health therapy, please contact our friendly administration team by submitting an enquiry form.

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