Swingin’ in the Shade
It’s a bright, sunny day, a perfect day to be outside enjoying the fresh air. For Corey, this means a chance to be outside in the backyard on his brand-new swing, a wonderful addition to his home.
“The swing has allowed Corey to enjoy the outdoors even in the midst of this pandemic,” says Kyle, who manages the Communitas supported home where Corey has lived since 2018.
The transition from the home where he grew up with the support of his loving grandparents, Leanne and Dale, was a long and gentle process. It began with the realization that providing Corey’s care was becoming a challenge for Leanne.
“It was getting hard on me as he wasn’t getting any smaller,” she says, adding that a back injury meant she had to be extremely careful.
Corey lives with cortical blindness and autism spectrum disorder. Loud places, unfamiliar noises, or strange surroundings can cause him anxiety. Leanne connected with Communitas and the process of bringing Corey into his own home began. Having a long, gentle transition from his familiar family home to a new environment was very beneficial.
“Communitas was a great help,” she says. “Corey was able to learn to trust the staff in his own home and they were able to get to know him. They listened well and Corey thrived.”
Leanne and Dale live on an acreage, so Corey grew up in a quiet atmosphere, used to the sounds of nature. He loves the outdoors, enjoying walks, bird song, the sound of rain on the roof of his patio. He also loves movement and music and there are sounds that make him laugh.
“Corey has the most wonderful smile that lights up the room when he shares it,” Leanne says. “He has a great sense of humour and when he was young he had the greatest belly laugh that would make us all laugh.”
Certain sounds, like a squeaky door, will still illicit a giggle and a smile. But being outside is still a favourite experience so when the COVID pandemic restrictions increased, finding new places to explore or new activities to try became a lot more challenging.
Leanne remembered that Corey loved to be on the swing when he was a child, so she came up with the idea of an accessible swing. She shared the idea with Kyle, who did some research, and found one that would work. They set up the swing underneath their deck to protect Corey from the sun.
“Corey’s grandfather has a background in heavy-duty mechanics, so he came over and helped us put the swing together,” Kyle explains. “The swing is ideal. We just wheel Corey in and secure him to the platform.”
The swing allows Corey to be safe in his wheelchair but still enjoy the freedom of movement outside. Kyle says that while trying out the swing, they found another sound that Corey enjoys.
“We discovered that he likes the sound of the chain banging on the frame. He would giggle every time it made that sound, so we just let that happen,” Kyle explains. “He really loves the swing.”
Corey’s smile is confirmation of this. He loves to be able to participate in an outdoor activity right in his own backyard. Leanne is grateful that the staff are open and willing to work together with her to ensure that Corey is living his best life.
“I’m so happy that Corey is with Communitas,” she says. “The staff supports him well and he enjoys them.”