In 2017, Amy was turning 21 and in her last year at school. We were working with a Transition provider, looking at day options for Amy for 2018. The future beyond school was looking very bleak. At our first meeting, early in the year, we were basically told there was nothing for her as everything was full. We still went and looked at a few options to see how they worked, even though we knew Amy wouldn’t be able to attend.

At the same time, we also started discussions with the local NASC regarding Amy getting approval for residential living from the beginning of 2018, as we wanted to be able to provide a lifelong future for Amy where we knew she was safe, secure and happy.

Amy had never lived away from family, so this would be a major change for her and the family. We were told that if residential was approved, the average time to get a placement was two-three years. Trying to arrange residential and day programs at the same time for Amy was very stressful, especially when the probability of either happening was poor.

In the middle 2017, we heard of a meeting being arranged by a provider new to the Wellington region called Spectrum Care, who were looking at setting up a new day service. They were holding the meeting to gauge the level of need and what people were after. At this meeting, we met the Spectrum team and it was breath of fresh air to meet people who were so positive about being able to provide services for people like Amy.

What followed were numerous meetings with both family and the people the service was for to discuss what was needed so that they could ensure the day service offered what was required.

Everyone involved was very friendly and supportive. The outcome could not have been better as Amy started at the new Maranga service in Wellington at the beginning of 2018. She thoroughly enjoys it and the staff involved are great. Activities such as swimming are part of her weekly programme. Practical things that used to be an issue at school just don’t exist anymore. Even getting her to and from the day service was no issue, as Spectrum provided transport.

Not only were the prospect of Amy’s day activities for 2018 looking vastly better but the Spectrum team also took on liaising with the NASC to help arrange residential living for Amy. This took an enormous amount of stress off the family.

Amy’s residential support was approved and then Spectrum set about getting a house that would accommodate Amy and three other young ladies. Spectrum involved us in the house search process so that we could provide feedback on places being considered.

The needs of Amy were always a priority for them as well as the other young ladies that were moving in. While the house search process was going on, Spectrum arranged for regular sleepovers at a planned break home for the four young ladies. This enabled them to get to know each other and ensure that they blended okay. This was really important to us as Amy is a very social young lady so needed to be around people that she got on well with.

The Spectrum team arranged with the NASC to provide sufficient planned break hours for all this to happen. Amy and the other three young ladies are now in a lovely home of their own. Also, the location couldn’t be better, as it’s within walking distance of all her family. Various people stop in to see her or take her out.

The difference between the start and end of 2017 could not have been more different. We started the year with a Transition provider that did little except forecast a very bleak outlook, and ended with Spectrum Care taking over and providing Amy with activities for the day, residential living and the future she deserves.