In this blog, Barry talks about his decision to start accessing Self Directed Support (SDS) and how it has helped him live independently.
My name is Barry Smith, and I am 43 years old, I have a physical disability which is cerebral palsy. Because I have this, I use a power chair as well as a Lightwriter what let people understand what I am saying to them.
When I am not able to do something for myself, I try to think of a different way to do it. Like I find it hard to type on my computer with my fingers – because of this I have a big keyboard with an overlay over it, so I don’t hit the wrong letters, then I use my big toe to type. Now I am going to tell you what I use for my mouse – a joy stick.
Before getting Self Directed Support
In 2006 I got my own house. Up to 2016 I used a support office that I liked at the time, down to being new to getting support in my house. But one thing I didn’t like at the support office was that they could send anyone – that upset me because the person might not know how to speak to someone who uses a communication aid.
Starting Self Directed Support
In 2016 I asked if I could go down the road to get a Personal Assistant (PA) to work for me. How do they help me to get what I need for life support? Just like if I need a hand to make a phone call to fix something in my house, I don’t have to worry about if the person can understand me because I have my own PAs who work for me.
By using my own PAs, for me they are my hands – I am saying this down to they do things that I can’t do for myself or am not able to do for myself.
In my eyes when anyone need support care setup they should be told about SDS because it is people’s right to know all the right support information and asked what road they want to go down.
In March 2020 you all know we all got told to stay at home, but I couldn’t let my PAs stay off work because they are my hands, doing things that I can’t do for myself. But I am there to ask them to support me with things I am not able to do for myself, like making me something to eat and feeding me with it. And do my housework for me as well as getting me ready as well as talking to me because I don’t go out. Because of it one of my PAs put out a tent for me at my back door which gave me a bit of head space, because they know I couldn’t go out, by doing this I stop wanting to go out.
My support with SDS now
Now I start going out a little bit more, but I try to stay away from catching Covid 19.
I would personally say to anyone who is thinking getting support, go down the SDS because you can teach your PA what you need and tell them what your outlook in life is.
Before I end my little talk I would like to make people aware you can use a communication aid when they are on SDS.