Case Studies

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Caring MacIntyre

MacIntyre is a registered charity set up in 1966 by the parents of a severely disabled child.  The charity has, over the years, become a leader in the field of learning disability and provides services to over 1000 children, young people and adults with the most profound disabilities in our society.  Their services include provision of residential care, supported living, a residential school, a further education college and a wide range of lifelong learning activities.

MacIntyre's application to ACT was for help to fund a project to raise funds for sensory equipment required at their supported living service in Abingdon, Oxfordshire where 3 young men aged 21-24 are living with support. This service enables them to live in their own home rather than in residential care or with family and each of the young men supported there has a learning disability, autism and complex needs. They require help with everything they do, from personal care to communication and socialising.  

Lewis (pictured) is a resident.  He is 25 years old and has been with MacIntyre for several years since leaving college.  Lewis uses very few words to communicate, relying on pictures and symbols to express his needs and wants. He can find the outside world overwhelming, unpredictable, noisy and difficult to understand and when he comes home he benefits greatly from spending time in the sensory room.  The sensory room provides a calming environment he can control as the room was specifically designed around his sensory profile with music, lights and an aurora projector that he enjoys watching.  Lewis's fellow housemates also enjoy the room for the same reasons. 

ACT were pleased to be able to help with a donation towards this equipment which helps to make Lewis and his friends feel calm and safe.

For further information on MacIntyre go to www.macintyrecharity.org

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SeeAbility - A Vision Being Realised

SeeAbility is a registered charity that seeks to promote better lives for people with sight loss and multiple disabilities.  The people they support may have a combination of complex needs in addition to sight loss such as a severe learning disability, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or physical and/or mental health difficulties. 

With a range of adapted housing and support in 21 locations across the south of England, SeeAbility also offer a range of specialist therapeutic services to their users such as rehabilitation, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy which help those affected to maintain and develop the skills they have and improve the quality of lives.

In 2004 ACT supported the building of Windmill Court in Honiton, Devon where 8 own rented, self-contained flats are home to young adults who require 24 hour support.  2009 saw a donation towards equipment at their state of the art supported living site in Horley, Surrey, Bradbury House, which today is home to 6 adults who are living independently.

SeeAbility’s latest project has been the creation of a dedicated dining area at their residential nursing home, Heather House in Tadley, Hampshire.  Heather House is home to 16 disabled young men and women aged from 16-35 who have long term, life limiting conditions.  Heather House is also the only dedicated nursing facility in the UK focusing on Juvenile Batten Disease (JBD), a cruel, rare and life limiting illness that occurs in children and adults worldwide. 

Being able to feed oneself is a huge part of maintaining personal dignity.  An individual with JBD may arrive at Heather House with a vision impairment (the initial symptom) and be able to walk and talk but in the latter stages of the disease they will be unable to sit unaided, speak or swallow their food safely.  Some of the individuals supported at Heather House have already lost their ability to eat and drink independently.

Having reviewed their existing space, SeeAbility took the decision to convert an existing commercial kitchen into a dedicated dining room.  The newly created, peaceful space will allow SeeAbility’s specialist nursing staff to support individuals during meal times in an intimate and private space making feeding their clients a more pleasurable experience for them in a safe environment.  ACT’s pledge of £10K has helped them to realise their vision and create a beautiful space (see picture top left).

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Kathy, smiling in a wheelchair in a garden.

Kathy's Story

Kathy is a 52 year old lady who suffered a spinal injury resulting in her being reliant on a wheelchair for all her mobility needs.  Further degeneration in her right shoulder and upper limbs meant that her ability to self-propel had become restricted and she was reliant on others to push her in her wheelchair, particularly when travelling long distances.

Kathy’s husband unfortunately suffers with rheumatoid arthritis and struggles to push her for long periods which means they have been restricted in the activities they can undertake.

Kathy applied to ACT for help to fund e-motion wheels - power assisted wheels that are mounted onto the wheelchair in place of the manual wheels.  The e-motion wheels work in conjunction with sensors that register the propelling movement to activate the electrical motor as and when required.  ACT's £1K donation meant that, with the help of The Bruce Wake Trust and Catherine House Trust, Cathy had the funds she required to get her wheels.

The addition of the e-motion wheels has enabled Kathy to be independent again with the added benefit that the strain previously put on her upper limbs has been reduced.  All of this has greatly improved the quality of her life and she has her independence.

Kathy says “ I am really pleased with my new wheels and have a new lease of life - thank you ACT Foundation ! “

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Sophie’s story

Sophie, 18, from Essex has Muscular Dystrophies and Scoliosis which, for Sophie, means her muscles are very weak and results in her needing to use a wheelchair to get around.

Sophie is an energetic and ambitious young lady who has worked hard and achieved outstanding results in her A Levels obtaining an A* in Maths, an A in Further Maths and an A in Physics. She is now studying Maths and Physics at University and having the time of her life.

Sophie’s ambition and hard work extends beyond her academic studies as she has achieved her grade 3 in both piano and singing.  Further, she is a double National Junior Champion in horse riding.

From a young age Sophie dreamed of studying science at University and taking part in the Paralympics however her big fear was that her mobility equipment would hold her back.  

Sophie had a manual wheelchair that she was not able to self-propel which meant that when she went out with friends they would have to push her. Sophie found this frustrating as she didn’t always feel like part of the group and felt isolated from a lot of conversation. Sophie's wish was to be able to go out with her friends without feeling like a hindrance.

The dream of going to University and leading an independent life would not have been possible without a powered wheelchair.

 The partnership between Whizz-Kidz and ACT enabled Sophie to obtain the mobility equipment she needed to enable her to keep up her fast paced lifestyle and help her reach her full potential. Sophie loves her new wheelchair which has provided her with the independence she always dreamt of.

Sophie says: -

“Thanks to my power chair I can travel anywhere on campus, pop to the shop, go to the cafe's and clubs with my flatmates and be a typical student.”

Sophie’s new wheelchair has also had an impact on her entire family as she no longer has to depend on her parents when she is at home. This has taken some much needed pressure off them as Sophie’s brother is also in a wheelchair and at times this has been very difficult. Now Sophie has her powered wheelchair nothing is holding her back from leading the fun, fulfilling and active life she deserves.