Author: Noela (Terry's Mother)
Terry is now 56 years old and has frontal lobe brain damage acquired during his birth. His mother, Noela was involved in a car accident which brought on a premature birth and this is thought to be when the damage occurred. Terry has autistic behaviours that overlap with effects of the brain damage at times. He also suffers from diabetes type 2 and extreme depression and anxiety resulting in threats to his mental health - requiring daily medication to control his behaviour. Terry is a very talented artist and his drawing ability is a great source of satisfaction for him. He enjoys woodwork with the men at ‘Our Shed’ in Eaglehawk and works cleaning cars at Peppergreen Farm in north Bendigo two days each week. Until recently Terry lived alone in a govenment housing unit which gave him stability but he was extremely lonely and given that he is not able to be responsible in any way for his own welfare and lifestyle choices, the level of daily support he needed was not available. His greatest wish was to share his home, to be near other people who have similar abilities and interests to himself. Terry’s behaviour can be very verbally abusive and challenging when he is confused or uncertain about what is expected of him and this could put him in very vulnerable situations at times. This behaviour didn’t encourage help from people in the community and isolation was an ongoing problem.
In April 2015 Terry experienced an intense personal crisis that meant he would not be able to continue without a vastly increased level of support. Since August 2015 he has been living in accomodation where he is able to have the company he needs and a 24 hr staff presence - which ensures a more stable and supportive environment for him. He is happier with other people around to talk and share experiences with on a daily basis. This has been reflected in his behaviour and as a result - Terry is now able to experience a more inclusive lifestyle, mixing with other people from the community and benefitting from it. Although Terry's critical need for immediate support brought him to a crisis point, his reaction to the environment he now experiences could be seen as an example of the benefits that will flow from the type of community living that QLO proposes.