For disability support workers and their clients, one of the most important things is helping the client be a part of their community. Just because someone has a disability it doesn’t mean they are not just as social as anyone else, and so it is important for them to be able to get out and be active!
There are many ways the disability service providers Melbourne has can help their clients become more part of the community, including:
1. Find out their interests & help them join a group
First thing’s first: you want to gain an understanding of your client’s passions so that when they attend a social event it is going to be something they are interested in.
All you have to do is communicate with your client, find out what they like (food, movies, arts and crafts etc.) before researching particular events and groups that combine their passion with social activities.
There are plenty of clubs and groups around Melbourne that pertain to different interests, like sports clubs, singing groups, book clubs and more – you just need to know what your client wants to be a part of and help them get there!
2. Encourage them to volunteer
Volunteering is a great way for anyone to be actively part of their community. Not only that, but it’s an awesome way for people to socialise and make new friends both within the organisation and with those who come into contact with it.
Whether it’s an animal refuge, local op-shop, food drive or something completely different, volunteering is one of the best ways to participate in the community, meet new people and learn some new skills in the process.
3. Help them join a class
So you may have encouraged your client to join a community group, but what if there is also something new your client would love to try? There are so many awesome classes and workshops people can join across the city, from painting to music, cooking and more.
Once again, this is just about communicating with your client, learning their interests and helping them find the perfect class for them!
4. Help them reconnect with old mates
If there is one thing that the past couple of years has taught us it’s that it is great to catch up with old friends. There is something about the whole having to stay-inside-for-most-of-two-years thing that has given us a sense of wanting to catch up with old friends and see what’s been happening!
Ask your client if there are any old friends they would like to catch up with. There may be an old friend they have been thinking about that they would like to check in with, grab some food, a coffee, even head to an event they both used to enjoy going to e.g. the footy.
5. Be open to new experiences yourself
Of course, if you’re required to attend particular events with your client, the event itself may be something new for you. This is pretty cool, really, as it opens up the opportunity for you to find a new interest or hobby.
You may not have had any interest in painting before attending a class with the client, only to discover that you’ve had a knack for it all along! Being open to new experiences yourself is one of the most exciting aspects of encouraging your client (person with disability in this situation) to become engaged with the community, and certainly one of the most rewarding, too.