Johnathan’s Journeys: Israel and Romania

By Bryony Dent, Volunteer Storyteller

Dimensions provide person-centred support for people with learning disabilities and autism, including challenging behaviour and complex needs. One person benefitting from our support is Jonathan, and he’s been on quite a journey.

Johnathan had an incredible hiking trip abroad

Starting Support

Johnathan was in his mid-twenties when he was first introduced to his support team.

Unfortunately, his confidence and fitness levels were low, he didn’t get out and about as he would have liked and he wasn’t spending much time with his family.

While working with Dimensions and his support team, things began to change.

They helped Johnathan build his confidence, improve his fitness and strengthen his relationship with his family.

Today, Johnathan enjoys drama classes, drumming, gardening and swimming. He even spends weekends away with his family but there have been some other big moments.

Planning the Journey

In 2017, an opportunity presented itself. Johnathan wanted to go on a hiking trip to Romania with his family.

As Johnathan has a range of complex needs, his support team needed to put together a thorough plan to support Johnathan before, during and after the trip.

“When Johnathan wants to do something, I want to be one of the people who makes it possible for him.” says Pierre Henry-Fontaine, one of the Assistant Locality Managers who works with Johnathan.

As part of the preparation, Johnathan was supported in going to the gym three to four times a week to build his fitness levels. “He was spending a couple of hours each time at the gym,” say Pierre. “He was really committed and I was committed to helping him.”

Just Keep Walking

The hiking trip was no small feat. Johnathan, his family and the support team were walking for a minimum of five hours a day.

Despite beautiful scenery, there was rough terrain and limited opportunities for rest. But, Johnathan didn’t give up. For Johnathan, it was a momentous achievement. And it was the same for the support team.

“I have to be honest, it was challenging,” says Pierre. “When you start, you have to finish as there’s no turning back. But to see Johnathan complete one hike, let alone three, was amazing. It was a very proud moment.”

The Road to Independence

Not long after the Romania trip, Johnathan visited Israel with his father without the Dimensions team, something that wouldn’t have been possible in the past.

Thanks to Dimensions, his support team and Johnathan’s determination, he could enjoy some unsupported – and memorable – time with his father.

For the Dimensions and the support team, it’s incredibly rewarding to see Johnathan’s progress and they look forward to other adventures in the future.