Being the bridge to connection


“Mike is always seeking to make a social connection” says his brother Peter. “He’s an extrovert, always interested in what’s going on around him.”

Kellie, who is new to support work, has assisted Mike to connect with people through his love of music. Mike’s now a regular at Rock and Roll dancing and going to concerts with the Rock and Roll crowd. Kellie said people are looking for Mike at events “They come up and talk to him, they dance with him.”

Peter notes that in the short time Kellie has been working with Mike, she’s helped to develop a new routine and pattern of going out that Mike looks forward to and feeds his appetite for connection.

Mike is a very enthusiastic Crows fan. With Kellie’s support he now regularly attends games, catches trains and buses to get there, engages with other Crows fans and thoroughly enjoys the connection with other fans that this whole experience offers.

There is an amazing back story to this scenario. Mike has lived in group accommodation all his life – severely limiting his opportunities to explore what his passions and interests might be, to make connections with people in his local community and intentionally seek opportunities to develop and maintain friendships with people with similar interests.

Through the encouragement of Kirra, Mike’s Community Living Facilitator, Mike and Peter were involved in interviewing potential workers and selecting and offering the role to Kellie. Kellie was selected as she lives locally, has existing community connections, lots of interests and is a bubbly, positive person who is curious to learn how to be “the bridge” between Mike and people in his community.

Kellie was a medical receptionist looking for a “role change” – she had never worked with someone with a disability and had no specific training. Kellie and Mike are on the learning path together with Kirra gently guiding the journey. Excerpt from Kellie’s email to Kirra “Mike and I have just had the best day. From the minute I walked in I could feel Mike was excited, he was so excited he actually made me excited.”

A disco ball on the ceiling is sparking around a large room where there are people on the dance floor and behind, seated at tables. A woman in a black and white polka dot dress is clasping both hands with a man in a a black and white rock and roll style shirt and kicking her heel out. The man is seated in a powered wheelchair. Both are smiling at the camera

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