My Achievements With Macintyre Charity 2016-2019

disability

This week I finished my 3 year journey with Macintyre. And what a 3 years t’s been! I have achieved things that used to make me feel extremely anxious and scared. But now I am able to do things around and about my community with more confidence.

I thought I would share with you some of my top achievements I have made through my time with Macintyre as a student in one of their life centres working on building my independent living skills.

My First Year

In my first year at Macintyre I was very shy and quite. I didn’t really like talking much. I found shopping really difficult and it took me a while to even get out of the car when shopping at the supermarket because I was so anxious and thought others were talking about me. After a while I had a go at walking to the shop entrance and waiting there for a bit. I worked with my support workers on something called Lego therapy, this is when you choose a lego brick colour that best represents a emotion. For example yellow was my happy colour and green my safe were as black represented the emotion scared. This was a great way to show others how I was feeling when I couldn’t express my emotions verbally or when my thoughts are going round in my head at 100 miles an hour.

I then started to use my lego therapy to help me in public places that make makes me feel stressed. I would go into the supermarket and just look at my green circle whilst going around the supermarket. We then started to shop at ASDA and before I knew it I was finding things we needed and paying at the till. When I felt anxious I would look at all the green posters etc around the supermarket not worrying about if everyone was talking, looking or laughing at me.

Towards the end of the first year I worked on trying to get on the bus. I was so scared about going on the bus I couldn’t make it even out of the grounds for a while. But over time I did manage to get to the bus stop and stop the bus. I went on a small bus journey to the nearest street and built it up from that. I then started to learn about how to stop the bus when you reached where you wanted to go.

My Second Year

At the start of my second year I came up with my own social enterprise project called Bryony’s Positive Enterprise. I made little gifts and cooked some things to sell. I made my own granola pots, pasta salad pots, cookie in a jar, hot chocolate stirrers, bracelets and key rings. I came up with my own ideas of what I wanted to make using Pinterest for ideas. For my project I learnt a lot about money management as I had to find and work out my costs and then how much I would sell my makes for making sure I made a little bit of profit as they profit helped pay for my next make and money towards my end of term treat.

I worked on cooking a meal I could take home with for my family and I to have. One term we did mains and the next desserts. I would find a recipe of what I wanted to make then I would make a list of all the ingredients needed. I then searched the prices of each item on the supermarkets websites. I wrote down each items price then added it all up to workout my total. I would then go to the kitchen to see if we already had ingredients we needed for the recipe. Making reductions to my shopping list seeing how much I would spend on each meal. I took the bus into town did my shopping at the supermarket and learnt how to use the self checkout. I had to make everything from scratch so I couldn’t buy things such as ready made pastry or sauces. when going into town to buy my ingredients I was able to get on the bus without feeling so terrified and I even caught the bus back from the noisy bus station which I found hard because it was so busy and noisy.

During my second year I did a lot of work on domestic skills. I did some washing, ironing of clothes and bed sheets, pairing socks and bed making.

Whilst in my second year I was trying to find work experience. So I did a lot of work on CV writing. I did do a morning volunteering at a Cancer Research Charity Shop. I then found work experience at a different charity shop and designed and made some of the window displays.

My Last Year

In my last year with Macintyre I worked in the community and not in the centre. I started to increase my hours doing my work experience at the charity shop. I learn’t how to use the till and over time I served customers independently. At the shop I also started designing and creating more window displays.

In my final year I found another work experience placement which was working on a little local farm which is a therapeutic learning centre that helps young people who are home educated, children finding it hard at school, children who find it hard in mainstream school or have mental health difficulties such as anxiety.

Through my time with Macintyre I have really grown in confidence and I now have skills to help me be more independent in every day life!

If you would like to know more about Macintyre Charity please visit: https://www.macintyrecharity.org

Communicating With Colours

mental health

When I am at college I sometimes find expressing my emotions to others very challenging. As I can feel threatened in this environment due to my past experiences at school with being bullied. The bullying affected me so much doctors diagnosed me with PTSD. To help me process and communicate with others I sometimes use communication aids to help me express myself in ways I feel safe and comfortable to do so.

To help me communicate with others I have done Lego Therapy with my support staff but also in small groups with other students. Lego Therapy is all about trying to identify your emotions by putting a colour to it. For example my happy colour is yellow and my safe colour is green. I use Lego because sometimes I might be feeling more than one emotion so we stack the Lego bricks onto each other.

Lego helps me because in the past whilst doing this with other students I have had to do our whole week in colour. By seeing my week visually using Lego has helped me to understand that my emotions can be mixed and that is ok. Doing this has helped me to identify why I might be feeling upset and other emotions during the week. Talking it through with colours makes me feel more relaxed in sharing how I maybe feeling to others. By dong group sessions it has helped me to understand that I am not “silly” for feeling some emotions as others can feel similar emotions to me in some situations.

By using colour I have been able to cope better with my feelings and thoughts rushing around in my head at 100 miles an hour. Sometimes when this happens I don’t know what’s going on.However if I can find a colour that best describes how I am feeling this can help to slow down my thought process into a more manageable way and it becomes less scary and less overwhelming for me.

I use this to also help me to tell others how the voices I live with are making me feel. I have coloured circles attached to my bag which I take with me all the time. Each circle is a different colour with the emotion it makes me feel on it too. So if I am out and about and feel I can’t tell someone how I am I can show them the coloured circle I am feeling. By having the circles with me makes it more discreet when out and about as I don’t need to get Lego out.

I find using this resource also really useful after I have had a seizure as I can find it very hard to communicate with others because I find it hard to speak or I am hard for others to understand.

I am now able to use this if I need to when I’m out and about with support workers, my family and friends. Using Lego has helped me a lot in understanding emotions and that it is ok to have mixed emotions!