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For Jayden, the chatter of people at the shops or a flurry of lights and unexpected activity nearby can be all it takes to trigger an uncontrollable sensory response.

Around two years ago, Jayden and his family turned to Afford’s Noble Park Day Program in Victoria for support to help Jayden develop strategies to regulate his behaviours. One-to-one support from an Afford lifestyle assistant would also help Jayden to get involved in new experiences and develop his skills.

During his time with Afford, he has made progress in leaps and bounds and Afford staff, as well as his family, have noticed that he is much happier.

Along with his lifestyle assistant, Kobbie, Jayden is keen to get outdoors and go to the park, beach or anywhere that he can explore.

Outings like these are now temporarily on hold for Jayden, due to COVID-related lockdown in Victoria, but that hasn’t stopped Kobbie and the team at Noble Park thinking outside-the-box to ensure Jayden remains engaged, stimulated and content.

Living with Autism and being non-verbal, Jayden finds that sound and music help him communicate and regulate his behaviour. He enjoys making sounds with his plastic drink bottle after it is empty, and he also likes singing nursery rhymes with Kobbie.

“Jayden loves music. It calms him down and it’s his outlet to express himself. With the local restrictions, we organised a virtual music therapy session for Jayden via Zoom,” said Kobbie, Afford Lifestyle Assistant at Noble Park Day Program.

“On the Zoom call were Jayden’s peers, Ryan and David from other Afford group homes as well as the music facilitator located at the Noble Park Day Program site.

Led by a music facilitator, the group was given the opportunity to choose any song they liked. Then the facilitator led everyone in song! Some participants used keys to make sound, others hit the table to produce sounds. It was a very interactive experience with everyone clapping their hands to the beat and Jayden was especially happy showing off his Mickey Mouse teddy dancing along to the tunes.

“It meant a lot to Jayden to have the facilitator sing his favourite Mickey Mouse song. You could see the joy and happiness he exhibited during the music session.”

The Zoom experience itself was new for Jayden. He was fascinated with seeing himself and others on the computer screen. Staff supported Jayden to use a filter for his image during this music session. This helped him to stay focussed throughout.

“Jayden absolutely loved it! The smile on his face and the energy Jayden contributed to the music program showed just how much joy he got out of the session.”

Afford staff genuinely care about the needs and goals of every individual. In the face of unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, Afford has ensured continuity of supports for people living with disability across the community.

Continuation of disability supports is vital in supporting the ongoing mental and physical wellbeing of every individual. Afford’s whole-of-life approach to disability supports and adaptation to new operating environments ensures that every person has the opportunity to achieve their goals for work, home and life.

Find out more about Afford Day Programs across Australia.