It’s been a great year for Matthew and we cannot thank you enough for providing the resources to help with Matt’s continued development. With the ongoing help of his carers Al, Antoinette, Sinead and Susan he is making great progress with outdoor activities and becoming part of the community.
Matt has almost completed a 180 degree turnaround in how he interacts with dogs. His anxiety around dogs was affecting his ability to partake and fully enjoy time spent walking in the outdoors and in public parks. His starting point was one of absolute fear triggered by an innocent interaction with a young bouncing slightly over enthusiastic Labrador who simply lifted his paws onto Matt’s chest. Matt was only 8 at the time but it left a long lasting impression. Fast forward to last year and Antoinette decided to try to change Matt’s relationship with dogs.
She began by showing Matt some pictures of her own dog “Daisy”. Progression through being around Daisy to eventually petting her and finally getting to where we are now whereby Matt actually asks to bring Daisy on his walks. He will now even hold the leash and walk and run with Daisy in the parks. Antoinette showed amazing patience and persistence to make this happen and this helps calm Matt down and allows him more frequent walks in the parks.
All four carers have put great time and effort into regularly bringing Matt swimming to the point where Matt can now do a couple of lengths of the pool. He really loves the water and again comes home from the pool in a happy and relaxed mood.
So it’s really all about improving Matt’s day to day activities and lifestyle. Thanks to the Trust and all of the hard work put in by the cyclists and volunteers that has developed Matt to the point where activities such as a walk in the park, a short cycle or a swim are now possible. 5 years ago this would have been an unrealistic dream of ours and this amazing transformation has all been made possible thanks to you.
In his day care service with the help of Abhainn, Matt gets the opportunity to interact with a horse by the name of Paddy. He started with a calm walk with the horse and his handlers and has got to the point where he is now calm enough to get on Paddy and have a short ride. Matt enjoys this so much that he takes the initiative to try to get Paddy to trot a little faster!
In terms of being out in the community and now being able to take part in some of the normal day to day activities this has a tremendous impact on Matt and plays enormous part in helping Matt to have a truly happier life.
This was borne out when Antoinette and Sinead brought Matt to Lus Mor Hostel in Wicklow in March. They did a few long walking trails out around the resovoir and even managed to have a bit of lunch in the local pub with Matt. This is the first time that Matt has slept overnight outside of his home or a care home. This gave Matt a new freer respite which brought smiles and happiness all round.
Finally on a cycling note Matt got his own bike last Christmas and has managed to complete a lap of St Anne’s Park! With the summer weather we hope to be able to make this a regular activity for Matt and get him out in the open air a lot more often.
Thanks again to all of you for your continued support of the Mighty Matthew Trust. hopefully this gives you some insight into how the trust is working to improve Matt’s life.
Kevin, Lesa, Matt and family.