I hadn’t realised I hadn’t mentioned Nigel before, so here is a bit about him!
Nigel is 45 and came to us about 16 years ago. He was born with hydrocephaly and has severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. When he was very young, his family were told that it would be best for him if he was put into a hospital. He stayed there until he was about 26, when he went to live in a care and cluster unit in Dover. It was there that Steve met him.
When the medics told me I had to stop teaching, I had to learn a living! It was at the time they were emptying the big hospitals and putting folk out in the community. Kent did it better than many places, and we started by having a man called Alan living with us. That went well, and over the next year the team agreed to let Nigel come to us too. Steve had been working with him and they got along very well. He had very challenging behaviour at that time, but the consistency we were able to give in a family with fewer staff, meant that we were able to get a lot of his problems under control.
Alan became ill and had to move back into full time care, and has since died. But Nigel stayed on, and came up to Orkney with us. When Steve and I split, he stayed with Steve (always his primary care giver) but comes to me when Steve is away and for respite.
Nigel loves the outdoors, and loves walking. He and Steve walk miles every day when the weather permits, and the odd mile when it doesn’t!! He is also very fond of good food, and any form of transport, whether horse or car or boat or plane. He has a very slapstick sense of humour and loves it when things go wrong! He is elective mute, but does respond to talk and has a good memory for events, people and places.
The left hand pic (above) was taken at the local Chinese restaurant on his birthday – he loves both Chinese and Indian food. The right hand pic is Nigel on Fin, with Steve. Out of the pic is Stephanie. She came for a fortnight to help us with Nigel and Fin 7 years ago when she was between jobs. She still looks after Nigel several days a week, along with her 8 month old baby Sarah!!