Bubbly Faye is 19 years old, she is non-verbal and has a learning disability. She lives at home with Mum, Susan, Dad, John, and her three older siblings.
“Faye was born on the day of the eclipse in August 1999, it was a special day all round for us.”
Dad, John, goes on to explain:
“As Faye is transitioning from school into adult services, she recently turned 19, we have had to really think about the support Faye needs moving forward. She needs physical support for safety when she is out and about. She is celiac, so we need people to be aware of that so everything and anything she eats is safe for her. She can’t be outside on her own as she has no concept of road safety or anything like that or going off with strangers. She needs help with her personal hygiene and going to the bathroom. She needs someone around, you wouldn’t say it has to be one to one or that intensive, but she needs support with pretty much everything that she does.”
“It sounds like a lot, but she is quite a sociable wee person.”
The aberlour options adventures are so much more and meet Faye’s needs better
“I don’t know if the staff are volunteers or paid but some of them are around about Faye’s age and they go to the same school as her in-fact. It is great for her, we can do pretty much anything, but you don’t want to be with your Mum and Dad all the time, do you? She gets loads from that independence. It is really good activities that she gets to go to like theatre trips, horse riding, outward bound adventure places. I mean we can do it, but it is much nicer to be picked up in the mini bus in the morning which is quite exciting for her as she gets to see who is there, she has a wee check to see where she will sit. It is about giving her independence and social time from our point of view.”
Every adventure has been different. But the one we are most proud of is when she went in the light aircraft flying
Mum, Susan, further explains:
“As John said, I think some of the helpers that go know Faye from school. It is nice for them to see her being independent. Faye is well known in school and likeable; she doesn’t have behavioural problems. People can’t resist walking by her giving her a pat on the head, a hug or a high five.”
“The first time Faye went away with Aberlour Options Adventures Jan booked accommodation and they went to an outward-bound centre near Edinburgh. That was the first time Faye has been able to access things like that on her own. She has been outward bounding but with her Mum and Dad. To head off in the minibus with the full gang was fab and she had a great time. I thought ‘how Faye will cope? Will Jan get her to bed?’ Now we don’t have to worry about things like that.”
“Every adventure has been different. But the one we are most proud of is when she went in the light aircraft flying, she would never get to go do that or access that without Jan and Aberlour. As a family you can go to things but to go in a group is just completely different and to go independently with help is amazing. And I mean she is 19, she shouldn’t be having her Mum and Dad hanging on to her. She certainly loves it.”
The adventure away isn’t just good for Faye, it gives John and Susan some time together.
Susan explains why the adventure is good for the whole family.
“It is a huge undertaking to trust someone. To send your child off with them, but the reward for Faye is huge. So you have to work at that gradually be it an afternoon initially or a couple of hours and build it up. But what you get back for Faye is amazing and, we get a wee bit time together, which we very much appreciate.”
“Faye is now so familiar with the routine when she is going on an adventure. If they are going away on a Friday, we have to pick her up from school a little bit early and we get her all changed and her bags ready, she loves her bag. She looks for the minibus and as soon as she hears the doorbell ring, which is either Jan or one of the helpers, she shows her excitement, grabs her bag and off she goes, she doesn’t look back.”
Adventures enables young individuals to be recognised as individuals and have a ball with life
“And because all the adventures are different, she is learning. It is varied accommodation and activities, so all the young people are learning and accessing new skills themselves. Knowing it is ok because ‘I have got my helpers here, I know where the bathroom is, what do I need to learn about this place?’ That is a big learning curve for people as well, going to different places.”
“Everybody should be able to access activities to the best of their ability. If Faye didn’t have the Aberlour Options Adventures, she could become very isolated, withdrawn, in her own at home with only her parents. That is the reality, and she won’t get these opportunities at all. Adventures enables young individuals to be recognised as individuals and access activities and have a ball with life. And that is what Aberlour Options Adventures allows them to do.”