Dwayne is a young man in his twenties. He suffers from severe anxiety to the point that he could not be around others. He lives with his father but will go several days without really seeing his Dad.
He was unable to finish school because he could not stand to be in a classroom. He only communicates with others through his computer. He does not go out to shop or socialize in any way. He is a recluse other than for medical related appointments.
Dwayne is also very sensitive to sensory input such as loud noise, smells, rough textures oe tastes he doesn’t like. He could hardly step outside the door most of the time because it was too noisy. He couldn’t cook because the smell was too much, he couldn’t eat many things as the tastes were too strong.
Dwayne came with his Dad to the Advocacy Office to apply for Disability.
In the beginning Dwayne was not really an active participant in filling out the sample application we work with. He would just sit, stare at the desk, head down. The communication was all between the Dad and the Advocate. As they worked more with the Advocate, Dwayne started to become an active participant. He looked at and talked to the Advocate. He opened up more about his life and started thinking about his conditions and how they affected his daily life.
The experience seemed to be good for both father and son as they seemed to both learn more about how Dwayne felt in different situations and they seemed to be actually talking instead of Dwayne just using the computer to communicate with his Dad. What happened to Dwayne by opening up finally to his Advocate and his Dad could have far more lasting effects than the PWD application.
It means a lot to the Advocates when we can help our clients in unexpected ways like this. This brings a more personal feeling to our work.
As narrated by Ellen Silvergieter, Advocacy Office Director.