Yovan’s Story

Posted 27/06/2022

Yovan has been supported by Thera East Anglia since 2008, and his family recently talked about Yovan’s story at a workshop run by Justin (Operations Manager).

Yovan has autism, and according to his friends and family, he loves to go outside and visit places. It is core to his routine that he goes to his favourite places, disliking being indoors all the time.

He came to live in Ely in 2017, where he lives with two other gentlemen. He is very happy in his home and quite the character here. He had lived in his previous home for 20 years, but his needs had dramatically changed, prompting the move. Unfortunately, his health had been the cause of him coming in and out of hospital for a few years. Due to the nature of his illness, he lost the ability to walk. Overhead tracking was installed in his bedroom to help improve his mobility with support from staff, however one day he surprised everyone, and he started to walk again. According to staff, many people with a learning disability find it incredibly hard to regain mobility as they must un-learn to walk and then relearn how to do it. But Yovan did it with the support of the people around him.

A huge part of Yovan’s life is his routine, as it helps his mental health. However, the difficulties of the current pandemic changed his life completely. Yovan’s routine depended on being outside and going to the places he enjoyed and being encouraged to remain inside meant he had to change his routine and tailor it to indoor activities. His support staff helped him through these changes, as they dealt with the rolling times together. After the restrictions were lifted, due to his new routine, Yovan would be distressed when leaving the house, and his support team struggled to support him to leave the house. Yovan had to change his routine all over again, and un-learn the past year to adapt to a normal life again. This took a lot of effort, but with the support of staff and his family, he is now back to being out and about doing his favourite things such as going to the pub and going to the café.

Unfortunately, in these last few years above the stresses of hospitals and the pandemic, Yovan had also lost his mother. This is extremely sad as they were both very close. However, Yovan is still very close with his family, especially his sister. His sister calls him weekly, and when he sees his siblings, his face lights up and his whole world changes. Despite the challenges of the last few years, Yovan continues to be a happy soul and is supported by his staff team to continue living his life as he chooses.

A word from his sister, Ranjini:

The care that our brother receives from Thera is truly amazing. His team of support workers are kind and thoughtful and we know that they have been unfailingly sensitive to his emotional and physical needs and alert to changes in his health.

“When our brother moved to his present accommodation it was a distressing and confusing time in his life: our mother, to whom he was very close, had died and his mobility had been severely reduced by a serious illness.

To help him to adapt to his new surroundings and to his increasing physical limitations, the managers made it possible for support staff from our brother’s previous home to continue to work with him. Our brother’s health remained poor for a while and the team’s vigilance ensured that he was always given appropriate medical treatment quickly at home or in hospital. Following these periods in hospital, it had seemed possible that our brother might never walk again but we and the team noticed his attempts to stand and to try to walk. He was obviously very determined! The managers sought professional advice and his Support Workers were taught how to help him to exercise and practice walking. Thanks to their support and encouragement, our brother can now walk short distances unaided.

We are aware that regaining mobility is highly unusual for someone with a learning disability. During the Covid lockdowns, the team maintained our brother’s physical and mental wellbeing very successfully and ensured that he stayed stimulated and interested despite spending so much time indoors. Now restrictions have been lifted, our brother has been able to return to doing the things he enjoys most – going out in the car or in his wheelchair to a cafe for coffee and cake, to a pub for lunch or on other outings. He is a happy man which means that we, his family, are happy too!”

If you would like to find out how we can support you or a family member, please contact us or visit the how we can help section on our website