Emma Mullin has been a service user at the George Steven Centre since October 2013. She attends the centre two days a week and goes to college the other three.
Her parents Ian and Heather say the George Steven Centre has given Emma the independence and confidence they thought she’d never have.
Ian said: “When our daughter first came to the centre she wasn’t independent at all. We would have to drive her everywhere.
“She wanted to be more independent so a member of staff from the centre came to the house and walked Emma to the bus stop and got on the bus with her. Then they did the reverse coming back. That went on for about six months. Then the member of staff waited at the bus stop and Emma walked from the house to the bus stop. Then it went further again and the member of staff met Emma at Dalry. They kept adding a bit on at a time until she finally made the journey herself. It took about a year but she can now travel to the centre and back on her own.
“It’s an incredible achievement when you consider Emma had never crossed a road herself let alone been out on her own. If she hadn’t come to the George Steven Centre then she’d have never been able to do it. Obviously it brings with it concerns for us, such as if the bus is late. But we’re so pleased that she can do it and it makes her feel she has a bit of independence.”
Heather said: “Emma went through mainstream primary education but it was a struggle for her. When she was 13 she went to Stanecastle, a special needs school in Irvine, where she stayed till she was 18. From there it was on to Ayrshire College where she attends three days a week.
“We wanted Emma to be doing something the other two days so we were referred to the George Steven Centre by her social worker. We’d never heard of the centre but came for a visit and immediately loved it.
“Emma does certain things on certain days. She does drama, life skills, cooking, exercises and the brain gym, which is a kind of quiz. She also goes on trips out and was a solo singer at the Christmas carol service at The Salvation Army’s community church in Kilbirnie. She much prefers the centre to the college. It’s made her more outgoing and she has a good repartee with the staff.
“Emma is the youngest at the centre but the age thing has never come into it for her. She has never mentioned that there’s anyone older. Disability doesn’t bother her either. To Emma, a person is a person and that’s that. We could all learn something from her.
“The George Steven Centre has made a difference in our whole family life. It would be nice if she could come to the centre more days but we’ll have to wait and see.”