Nicholas Mihic, 23, of Langley has been an employee at Pacific Injection Mouldings since late 2006 and is hard working, reliable and responsible. In addition to working, Nicholas takes horseback riding lessons, piano lessons, yoga and volunteers at a shelter for cats.
Since February 2008, Nicholas, who has high functioning Autism, has worked towards the goal of living on his own. In May, he realized this goal when he moved into his own apartment.
“For people with Autism, changes can be tough, and moving out on his own was a big adjustment,” says Nicholas’s mother Pam.
To help Nicholas live independently, he and his family were looking for support to develop skills for taking care of daily household activities and building a network of community connections.
Pam heard about Community Living BC’s Personalized Supports Initiative (PSI) through the Langley Association for Community Living.
CLBC introduced the Personalized Supports Initiative to provide services and supports for adults who have both significant limitations in adaptive functioning and either a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD is officially referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorder).
PSI provides an individualized and personalized approach to meeting the needs of eligible adults by coordinating existing community supports to help people to maintain or increase their independence. Personalized supports may include social, employment, financial, respite and living supports.
“I wanted help with learning about cooking, laundry, shopping and chores,” says Nicholas.
For the first month in his new place, a support worker visited Nicholas and helped show him how to do many of the household chores around his new apartment, including doing the laundry and using the kitchen to prepare and cook his own meals.
Nicholas now has a new support worker who is helping him focus on safety issues, such as not letting strangers in at the door and the proper procedure to follow if there is a fire alarm or power outage. He is also teaching Nicholas about transportation to get himself around in the community and back home again.
“Nicholas takes the bus to horseback riding lessons or community events and sometimes takes taxis. He’s learning how to call a taxi, give directions and pay,” says Pam.
“His support worker is really getting to know Nicholas and is helping him work on social connections with his neighbours and building friendships in the community,” says Pam. “It gives Nicholas a new perspective as he’s not always having to rely on his mum and dad. It has definitely increased his independence.”
To learn more about the Personalized Supports Initiative, please visit www.communitylivingbc.ca and go to Individuals & Families > Personalized Supports Initiative.