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My name is Alice and I work with adults who have learning disabilities. I love my job and no two days are the same.
Over the years I’ve had various different and interesting roles. My first was with a charity in London which helped people learn independent living skills. Since then I’ve worked for local councils in various positions, from supporting people with physical disabilities to helping people move out of long-stay hospitals. I also have experience in supported living, where a group of people with learning disabilities share a house and need assistance with daily tasks.
Today I’m employed by North Yorkshire County Council, working within a respite unit. Most of the people who come to stay are in their late teens or early 20’s with a few older ones. At that age most are still living at home and staying at the respite unit gives them and their families a break. There are about 35 people who come to us regularly, a few at a time, and we get to know them well.
As many of the people I support have multiple disabilities and complex needs, I help them to look after themselves with tasks such as bathing and dressing. Many people need some help to eat: some need their food cutting up, others need to be fed and some people are ‘peg fed’ which means a liquidized meal, rather like a drip in a hospital. I also cook within the unit which means I need to be aware of special dietary needs such as food intolerances. That’s all part of my role as a support worker, helping people to do things they can’t do for themselves.
In part two Alice talks about what it takes to be a good support worker.