Ian with his dog Stitch

Ian with his dog Stitch

Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity, has been supporting Ian Downton, now age 50, since he was three years old. Without the provision of the charity and its support workers he would not have the fulfilled life that he does now.

Born with water on the brain, Ian also had a blockage in his main artery from the heart to the brain. He underwent surgery but also developed meningitis, leaving him even weaker. He then had a seizure at three years old causing a blockage in the same artery.

Ian was unable to attend mainstream school and therefore started at the charity’s school, Langside, when he was three and they assisted him to walk and provided speech therapy.
Colin Downton, Ian’s dad, said: “Before Ian attended Langside he was shy and lacked confidence. His progress at the school was slow but with help and encouragement from the fantastic staff we could see day by day how he was developing.”

Unfortunately at eight years old, Ian had to undergo further surgery to relieve pressure in his brain and a few years later he suffered a stroke that affected his right side. This was a sad time for his family as he was learning to walk and it was going well, thanks to Langside School, but after the stroke he could not bear weight so could only crawl. At the age of 14 Ian was rushed to hospital as he had developed a blood clot on the brain, which left him totally blind.

Colin added: “The staff at Langside School were again brilliant and helped Ian re-adjust when he returned with no sight. At the age of 18, Ian had to leave school, but continued to live at home with us until the age of 24. We then decided it was time for him to have further support and thankfully Diverse Abilities had a supported living service, providing him the care he needed 24/7.”

Ian moved into a Diverse Abilities supported living bungalow, located in Parkstone, with four other people with disabilities. To this day Ian continues to live in supported living, which has made such a difference to his everyday life. He lives independently in his own home and is supported 24/7 by the charity’s staff. Ian loves music and football, and every day varies. One day he will be watching AFC Bournemouth play at home and then the next day he will be visiting friends and family. He also enjoys going out for lunch, swimming and pottery.

Ian also attends the Barnabas day opportunity hub for adults with disabilities, run by Diverse Abilities. Here he enjoys wheelchair dancing and cooking classes, plus much more.
Colin adds: “Without the support of Diverse Abilities and its brilliant support workers, Ian’s life could have been very different. He has, and continues to, enjoy a fun and fulfilled life, taking part in many activities that he wishes. He also lives independently in his own home. The support Diverse Abilities provide is second to none and I couldn’t have asked for anything more for my son.”

Opportunities are currently available for those looking for a career in care to join the charity working with adults with disabilities.To find out more visit www.diverseabilities.org/jobs or call the HR team on 01202 718266.

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