Kristina Swinton CareIn this guest blog, Kristina, a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, writes about her accomplishment and growing independence alongside her work with Swanton Care:

As a 26 year old with Asperger’s, I’ve worked hard with the support of talented carers to maximise my independence. I’ve gone from living in a secure unit, to living in a care home, and now in my own flat with supported living services from Swanton Care and Community. When I look back, I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made and the changes I’ve achieved. I’m also keen to share my story which will hopefully inspire others with the condition.

When I was 20 I was living in and attending classes at a secure college. I required the support of two carers whenever I went out into the community.

About two years later, in September of 2011, I moved into Swanton’s Darwin Place. Darwin Place is a small residential bungalow located near Much Wenlock in Shropshire, where each of us had our own room and en-suite. Again, I receive 24/7 support and, for the first six months, I also retained the support of two carers when I left the home. However, as time went on I was able to go out with only one carer. This progress was exciting.

My growing independence was highlighted by my move to a flat of my very own in October of 2013. Having my own living space is incredibly important to me as it lets me make my own decisions and live on my terms.

In my supported living flat I do my own cooking, and being a keen baker I am always up for baking a cake to celebrate any occasion!

Rather than going out with two carers, I can now take the bus to certain places on my own. I am also able to spend time in the town centre independently each week. My current goal is to be able to take public transport to additional locations, including Telford town centre, by myself.

I am also working hard at school, where I attend classes which provide me with employment skills. I am studying English and maths. I supplement my time in the classroom by volunteering as a server at a café part time which gives me valuable hands-on experience.

I also very much enjoy attending the 2000 Club, a group for those with different learning needs and physical abilities. I’ve made great friends and even go on holidays with them! I met my boyfriend at the group.

I’m also working on another goal - learning to play the piano!

The level of independence I’ve achieved has been immensely satisfying. I’m incredibly proud of my progress and grateful for the support I’ve received. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work hard and achieving more milestones in 2015.