We are always trying to find different activities to engage with the clients. If we suggest activities for them to try we will often be met with a negative reply. Wendy is very skilled in drawing clients into an activity. She will sit near to the clients and begin an activity. Before very long one of the clients will ask her what she is doing and will show an interest. It’s like a fly caught in a trap! Then they will be willing to try it for themselves and often others, who do not want to be left out, join in too.
I’m not that good at “arty” type things and my route in with them is a little different. I often start to do the crossword in the paper. I will ask if anyone has any idea what 6 across could be and before long someone will come up with an answer. It’s amazing the depth of the client’s knowledge and they love it when they manage to find the answer. We have, on occasions, when we have been really stuck for an answer gone on the computer to look for it and again this is another skill they begin to try. A game they like to play is one called “Scattergories”. You each have a card with the same list on it, for example boys name, country, food found in a fridge. You then spin a dice with letters on and you have to fill the list in with the letter it stops at. It makes you think and some of the answers are very inventive at times and very funny. The clients usually are reluctant to play but by the end of it they have really enjoyed it. We played it one day and one client was very down, and he played and afterwards he said he felt it had really lightened his mood. Wendy had had one of her trips to “Hobby Craft” and came back with some lovely window glass ornaments to paint. Wendy started to paint one and as usual was very enthusiastic. It looked really lovely and was so easy to do. Before long she had some clients doing them. We hung them up at the window and other clients were noticing them and admiring them. One male client asked one of the female clients to do one for him to send to his mum on Mother’s day. Wendy wanted to know why he couldn’t do it himself and before long he was very engrossed and produced a beautiful painting. He then wanted to send a poem for his mum and make a card so we “googled” one and printed it out for him. A card was made and he had his photograph taken and printed out to send too. We packed the ornament up for him and posted it off. One Mum will be very happy this Mother’s Day. Not long after another male client was admiring them and he too was persuaded to have a go It was a real breakthrough, especially for the men who often think things like these are ok for the women to do but not quite right for men! Any stereotype we can squash is good.