Favourite pastime acts as springboard for interaction
Lisa Bailey

Working side by side with others in community in an area of personal interest and having his contributions recognized and valued has had a positive effect on Jason.

The young man tells posAbilities Today that he felt “happy” and had “fun” talking with staff about movies and video games while engaged at two Rogers Video outlets in Burnaby over the course of about 15 months.

Jason says he would like to continue with this type of experience.

Nisha Pandey, a residential care worker at Altesse House, has been working with Jason for approximately two years.

She says a real change has been noticed in Jason. His confidence and self-esteem have increased as a result of being able to blend a keen interest and favourite activity — evident in the 150 or so movies and video games he has and always enjoys playing — with involvement in the community.

Jason with fellow staff.

“He talks more and he’s become so friendly,” Nisha says, noting Jason doesn’t necessarily sit quietly and wait for others to speak with him but reaches out to make a connection.

At the stores, Jason steadfastly contributed for a number of hours at the same time every week, rain or shine.  His main task was dusting the shelves.

Nisha says he looked forward to his time there, which provided both physical benefits through the use of hands and muscles, but also the opportunity for social interaction.

Jason came to know all of the staff by name and would engage them in conversation about his favourite form of entertainment.

“He put his heart and soul into it and was dedicated to it,” Nisha says.

Jason’s enthusiasm and efforts were validated and reinforced with praise and thanks. He also received a free movie or game rental every week.

At Christmastime, in appreciation of his efforts, Jason was presented with a five-movie set.

When his time at the first store ended as a result of its closure, staff recommended Jason for another location, which he then joined.

During this experience, a hidden talent of Jason’s came to light. He sings and Nisha says it’s hoped a teacher can be found to lead Jason in lessons.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)axiomnews.ca.