Given the current issues in Melbourne – new 6 week restrictions, it is reasonable to assume that community based mainstream and specialised programs won’t be happening for a considerable amount of time. If they do start again, they will likely have limited numbers due to social distancing requirements etc. Therefore we are modifying the way we work with our clients, to support them to join and develop on-line social and recreational options. To date we have focussed on some online options but this has been focussed on waiting until everything opened up again. But given that its anticipated this won’t be happening for a long time, we are now expanding our work in on-line activities.
We are working very closely with each client’s therapy team members to ensure the most successful outcome for our clients in this ‘new world’. The response from clients, families and therapists has been extremely positive thus far.
NEW REFERRALS: For anyone new wanting to take part in these online endeavours an initial assessment is required. Within the assessment we will discuss with the person their interests and help them identify, research, trial and engage in their preferences. It’s about working with the individual and finding options but also sorting through most suitable options for the individual to best suits their needs. Our online endeavours and groups will only be offered if it is inline with their goals, otherwise we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in identifying and engaging them in alternative options as is our role as Recreation Specialists.
- LEISURE BALANCE CLOSED FACEBOOK PAGE – this is for suitable indivisual, when use of Facebook is safe and supported by the individual’s therapy team. Covers regular “fun” posts, opportunity for individuals to post, and respond to posts. Also covers other ideas for “at home” and new online options. This has been running for a number of months, new suitable Leisure Balance members will be added as appropriate. We have a number of “guidelines/rules” to become a member and online safety and appropriate behaviour among members is basic minimum requirement for participation.
- REGULAR EMAILS TO SUITABLE CLIENTS RE NEW ONLINE OPTIONS – we are constantly finding new “online” social and free options. So 1 or 2 of these are emailed to suitable individuals every 1-2 weekly. We find that it is better to send only 1 or 2 options at a time as if too many are sent then it becomes overwhelming and not useful for the individual.
- EXPANDING – DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS’ ONLINE COMMUNITY– this is similar to our pre COVID work in the Community but now it is all online. To date we have been sending general information about on-line options, but now are starting to expand this to work specifically with individual clients to support them to explore and trial on-line options specific to their interests. This involves specific research of options based on a client’s interest, liaising with client and support workers (& therapy team if needed), to set up a trial, train worker if needed, follow up after trial, liaise with agency regarding suitable workers and shift times to match the online option.
- LEISURE BALANCE WEEKLY ONLINE TRIVIA – an activity that we tried without knowing whether it would be successful but it has proven to be a very popular activity. As well as giving individuals a great way of interacting with others (& having fun), this has given many individuals (& support workers) a chance to develop skills accessing zoom. This has helped us explore other online options with them.
- DEVELOPING – LEISURE BALANCE “MINI SOCIALS” – we are planning to develop some smaller Zoom social groups with suitable individuals with appropriate social skills – max of 5 people. We have found that other online options can be larger groups and often clients get lost in the size of this meaning they have little opportunity to speak, socialise etc. A number of clients have already expressed interest in this and trials occurred. We may need to change the members of these small groups depending on the dynamics of the group.
- DEVELOPING – BLOG ON LEISURE BALANCE WEBSITE – this is a developing project, giving client’s an opportunity to display their work on the Leisure Balance website, things they are doing at home i.e. creative writing, art work, puzzles, cooking etc. We have found that clients seeing their works displayed on an open forum provides them with confidence and a sense of pride.
Anat and Byron enjoying online trivia