Matt S. has been part of the John Paul II Center program since he was five years old. Today – nearly 31 years later – he continues to reach milestones and gain life skills designed to promote his confidence and become more independent.
Through the JPII adult program’s person-centered care model, the focus is on each individual’s strengths, wants and needs. For Matt, that meant a program that allowed him his space while supporting him to be successful in areas important to improving his life skills. Specifically, the focus for Matt has been in learning to feed himself. The process began with Matt holding an object for just a few seconds. Then, staff assisted Matt with hand-over-hand techniques to hold a spoon and bring it to his mouth. Now, with some assistance Matt is scooping food onto his utensil and is on the road to independence. Although the process has taken place of a span of time, Matt is clearly excited about his progress, as are the JPII staff who work with him.
“You don’t focus on what they can’t do, but instead you focus on the positives and the process that is made while being very patient,” says Diane Rice, program specialist.
This new skill has empowered Matt in other areas as well. He has more tolerance for group and planned activities. A few years ago, Matt would not sit in music therapy or participate in groups for more than a two-minute span. He now participates in music for the full session -even sitting for the entire time – and is involved in centers and groups.
“With continued love and support, we hope to provide Matt with new opportunities and help him to develop new skills,” Diane says.