For the past 5 months, if not longer, I have been self-managing my support team. I really became aware of self-management earlier in the year when I started my bi-cultural social services study (at level 4). I became more self-aware and reflected about taking more control of my own support needs and exploring more of my values and goals.
I have been supported by Options North since 2014 when I was engaged with the vocational support, post two brain surgery’s and a stroke in 2014. It wasn’t until 2015 when it was recommended to me to start with the supported living side of Options, after I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2014.
My team’s original focus was on home management and gym, the home management was looking at cleaning and keeping on top of normal house work, this also included grocery shopping. This was due to the memory loss because of the surgery. The gym support was to manage my weight loss and keep a healthy mind and body.
In 2017 I decided to change my support to assist me to develop more social and community orientated goals. This has led me to completing study through the Te Wananga O Aotearoa. The gym support remains a focus of my support, but I have more of a healthy balanced life.
The self-managing process for me started with the New Zealand launch of Helen Sanderson Associates which I fully endorse. I was part of an initial working group that looked at some of the person-centered thinking tools, such as the one-page profile. I have updated mine four times and it helps keep my Support Team informed.
The way I self-mange my team is with the support of my team Coordinator, who I meet with regularly to discuss issues or praise the team. I have always hand picked my team with no more than four people at anyone time supporting me.
I don’t meet in a team catch up, but I choose to meet face to face and on a one to one basis with my support team, over coffee due to the relaxed atmosphere that I need in my support, which helps me to relax and feel safe.
The self-management focus has led me to start to develop my Community Circle to help me better engage within my church community.
I have struggled hugely in the past with aspects of conflict. This has led to many in the church turning away from me and leaving me more segregated.
“Change is hard to achieve when you are by yourself, but when you have people around you, people who actively care and actively want to support you, the change can be very easily attainable and transformative.”
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Angus Kirk, 2018