Recently the supported group living program and the vocational program at the Ranch came together to help a participant in need.

*Chad, a vocational student and supported group living participant, was experiencing some difficulties because he was no longer able to receive one-on-one attention in his vocational program, nor could he isolate himself when he needed separation from the group. The program was no longer meeting his needs.

Chad started struggling and didn’t want to attend.

Barry Senft, a personal support worker who works closely with Chad, said, “There was a lot of (negative) behaviour and lots of sadness. He didn’t want to go to LSEP anymore.”

Life Skills Education Program (LSEP) is a Ranch Ehrlo vocational program that helps participants with differing abilities develop life skills and provides leisure and recreation opportunities, training, and skill development.

Warren Powers, LSEP program manager, explained that it was recognized that Chad needed a different program.

Warren explained that there was a lot of coordination between the group living and vocational programs to make sure that it was fiscally responsible and would meet Chad’s needs.

“We created a program that is tailored and individualized for Chad,” Warren stated.

They designed a week-to-week program to ensure all his needs are being met. Warren pointed out that Chad still participates in learning and practicing life skills, but now he has the support he needs.

“It’s much more person-centred,” Warren explained.

Chad still participates in two LSEP activities twice a week. One day he attends expressive art program classes, and the other day is for music therapy. The difference is if he’s experiencing challenges at these activities, he now has a personal support worker with him who can take him home, so he doesn’t disrupt the other participants.

Chad also has regular responsibilities where he learns and practices his skills. One of his favorites is house fire marshal; he checks all the fire alarms in the house once per month.

Warren said, “He sees himself as the safety officer. He goes around the house making sure everything is put away and checking to see if everything is safe.”

Chad had input into his new programing. Some of his activities have included tours of a firehall and ambulance station, visiting the RCMP museum, reading books at the library, going swimming, going for walks and picnics in Candy Cane Park, and even going to the beach on a lovely summer day.

Thanks to the cooperation between departments, Chad has a new lease on life.

“Chad is thriving,” Warren said.

*Name changed to protect privacy