Learning Disability Week 2019 is the 17th to 23rd of June. POhWER will share one client story each day to show how we support people with learning disabilities.

Today's story is

Sam’s Story

Sam is 52 years old and has lived at a residential unit for people with learning disabilities for over 10 years. He is able to communicate verbally and understand well. Sam is a quiet and reserved gentleman. He enjoys walks and a weekly visit to the local pub.

Sam approached Denise, a POhWER advocate, and asked if he could meet with her. The advocate offered Sam the time and space to be heard and remained non-judgemental. She used open and tentative questions to build a rapport with Sam, facilitating a space where Sam could be comfortable to talk about his views and wishes.


Sam explained that he missed his friend Fred. Sam and Fred had shared a flat together in the supported living setting for over 10 years. Fred passed away two years ago. Sam explained that he missed him very much and became visibly tearful talking about the things they used to do together. Sam explained he and Fred use to cook together, watch TV together and spend time talking. Sam explained he now lives alone in the flat.


Denise spoke to Sam about how he was feeling and they discussed options that might help. Sam decided that he would like to speak to a counsellor as he found speaking to staff difficult. Sam asked Denise to speak to the manager of the supported living setting to request a counselling service for him.


Denise met with the manager of the supported living setting and reflected on Sam’s views, and wish for counselling to help support him with the loss of his friend. The manager confirmed she would arrange this. The manager said “thank you for bringing this to my attention, Sam is a very quiet man and I would hate to think he has been sad for this long”.

The following week the manager confirmed to Denise and Sam that she had made the referral for a counsellor for Sam. Sam said “thank you, that’s good”.

Sam is now waiting for counselling to commence. Denise will continue to visit Sam and see if he needs any further advocacy support.