Under control: Rob’s story

Managing and mitigating behaviours of concern is no easy task, but with the right resources, it can be life-changing.

Like many of us, Rob was forced to spend his birthday away from family during Victoria’s gruelling lockdown. This time last year, the thought of a disappointment like cancelling his 60th birthday party would have been enough to send Rob into a downward spiral.

Rob had spent much of his life living in institutional settings, beginning when he was just 14 years old.

When Rob was upset, he would not be able to control his behaviour which would often escalate to throwing household items and even furniture. As such, Rob rarely accessed the community, did not interact with other housemates, and preferred to eat his meals alone. He particularly found changes unsettling. ​​​​​​​

In 2019, Rob moved into a Scope SIL home and his dedicated house team worked hard to help him feel comfortable. They also were able to dig a little deeper to explore the root cause of his behaviour.

It became apparent that the cause of Rob’s behaviours of concern was feelings of anxiety. Rob has Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability and a range of behavioural and emotional difficulties.

The team went into action to create a support plan for Rob. They worked with his GP and a behavioural specialist to help him manage and treat his anxiety proactively, rather than just limit his behaviours.

Jane Wynne, House Supervisor, said the team discussed implemented strategies in their own day-to-day activities to ensure Rob feels secure.

“We make sure that Rob is kept in the loop of everything that is happening,” Jane said.

“He has a calendar in his room that lets him know what is happening, when he has appointments and when staff are going on leave.”

Ensuring Rob’s environment is stable and predictable has resulted in a decreased dependency on medications from around 15 times a month, to just once a month.

Today, Rob is able to identify when he is becoming anxious and is able to communicate this with staff.

He enjoys getting out and about once a week and goes grocery shopping. Rob’s team also support him to buy lunch once or twice a week and shop for his own clothes.

They’ve also supported him to build his confidence to travel by bus so he can visit his sister in Casterton.

“My behaviour is much better,” Rob said.

“I go to the butchers to pick what we have for tea…I get to have chops every Monday.”

More choice, control and independence in his life means Rob is reaching goals that once seemed impossible.

“I love my little house,” Rob said.