A Day in the Life of Chloe

Chloe follows Royal College Manchester’s Sensory course and splits her time between living at home and in our state-of-the-art houses onsite. At the moment, Chloe shares a house with two other young adults who both have similarly complex physical skills, and their house is specially designed to help them maximise their independence with facilities like the rise-and-fall kitchen counters, ceiling track hoists and a sensory room.

When Chloe wakes up in the morning, she’s normally full of smiles and laughter as staff support her to get washed and dressed before she joins her housemates for breakfast, a selection of cereals, toast and yoghurt. Chloe loves tasting food and is working hard to use a spoon to feed herself – last year in college, she was able to bring a spoon loaded with food to her mouth, eat and hand her empty spoon to her support worker at least 50% of the time, giving her more independence and control during mealtimes!

Care staff walk Chloe and her housemates over to the college building at the start of the day where she meets her tutor group and enjoys intensive interaction with her support staff, which gives Chloe the chance to develop her understanding of fundamental communication skills like eye contact, attending to conversational partners, vocalisations and the structure or rhythms of conversation.

Chloe’s first class is ‘stretch and move’, a session designed to help Chloe and the other students develop their mobility skills. Chloe also uses a standing frame in some college sessions which strengthens her bones, muscles and overall posture as well as giving her a new outlook and a different way to participate!

At around 10:30, Chloe spends her morning break getting a snack and socialising with the people around her. She’s a real social butterfly who enjoys reaching out to interact with other people!

After break it’s back to the classroom where Chloe is learning how to use switches to operate different pieces of equipment and gain more control over her environment. Chloe has even been able to use a switch-operated platform for her wheelchair which allowed her to direct her own movement along a track, stopping and starting as she pressed the switch instead of relying on staff to push her chair for her!

Chloe is learning how she can make choices between real objects and express them to others so at lunch time, staff might present her with two different juice flavours so she can indicate which one she wants. She eats lunch in the college dining room along with the other Royal College Manchester students and, when she is ready, returns to her tutorial room before afternoon registration.

The afternoon session might involve a trip to the community – Chloe loves to be out and about, whether that’s travelling in the car or enjoying the outdoors! Today, she’s travelling on a minibus with her classmate Amara to go to a nearby shopping centre. In the shop, Chloe decides which juice she will buy to bring back to college before she and Amara go to a café where they choose a drink to share. Spending time in the community is a great chance to meet more people and widen their social circle, as well as to practice taking all the learning they did about making choices in college and applying it in different places.

The college day might be over but Chloe’s an active member of three college clubs (Dance, Yoga and Signing Choir) so today she stays in college to meet the other members of the dance club. Stretching and moving is great for Chloe’s physical health but being able to share a fun activity with other young adults who have different physical skills is a great boost for her self-confidence and self-esteem as well!

After the club meeting is over, Chloe returns to her house to enjoy a drink and enjoys going for a walk before dinner. Her housemates and staff share meals so that they can enjoy the cosy, homely atmosphere together, and then Chloe likes to spend time in the sensory room in her house. This room is kitted out with equipment that can stimulate all of her senses and allows Chloe to practice key life skills like her motor skills, understanding cause-and-effect and making the most of her available vision. Her favourite part of the sensory room, though, is the water bed she can relax on, feeling the full-body support and tactile sensation.

It’s movie night for Chloe and her housemates who choose a DVD to watch together in the lounge. Before bed, Chloe is supported to take a bath and then it’s time for bed, where she likes to have her radio on as she sleeps.