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Services Need to be Different to Offer People Choice
Recently we have had the opportunity to visit FarmAbility - an outdoor, farm-based day centre for people with autism and learning disabilities just outside of Oxford.
According to their website, FarmAbility believes that “adults with autism and learning disabilities should have access to meaningful activities that improve their well-being and increase their independence, enabling them to participate actively in their communities.”
When we visited, we had a lot of fun – gardening, sorting and stamping eggs, and helping to groom animals.
However, a lot of thought has gone into those activities, which incorporate learning from Occupational Therapy and other relevant practices, to encourage independence, choice and autonomy through the development of skills and the building of confidence.
We think it is great that people interested in farming and/or the outdoors, can go to a day centre where they are involved in vegetable growing, orchard management, horse care, animal husbandry, woodwork, an organic egg enterprise, and a range of seasonal farm tasks.
This might not be for everybody, but it certainly works for the people we met at FarmAbility, which shows how important it is to have a range of different services for people to choose from.
We think that people with learning disabilities should be offered genuine choice about how they spend their days, whether that is at a day centre, farm, or at home with their families.
Sometimes, when all services look very similar, it doesn’t feel like we have a choice. So we welcome charities like FarmAbility, who are trying to do things a little differently.
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