Scott and the mobile phone.
Scott’s mobile phone was having some problems so I thought I would take him with me to Apple in Doncaster and see what we could do about it. The mobile phone is a very important link in Scott’s independence and a great relief to us that we can contact him and know where he is and what he is doing. The phone has been a great teaching and learning tool that he has managed to master and make his own. There are many skills to be learnt from having a mobile phone, it is an excellent teacher, who is not forgiving if you don’t do it right, it also has very strict rules that have to be followed for it to do what you want, but it’s very loyal and as the rules are always the same and very precise there is no confusion. It is a form of communication for somebody like Scott with very limited communication skills, with boundaries and it never changes its mind. Once you master it, it always works the same, it’s predictable and the more you learn the greater the skills can become. Scott now downloads his favourite music and movies and appreciates the user friendly interface and understands that it can help you in many situations e.g. when you’re lost. Firstly he had to learn the technical process of using a mobile phone, then the procedures to receive calls and appropriately answer them. He also had to learn it was an important item so he could have some independence and it would have to be taken care of, he had to learn to be responsible for its safety and keep it charged. The phone also introduced him to friends, at first he was very inappropriate, but slowly with patience from his callers and from him it expanded his ability to hold conversion.
We recently noticed it had a problem with the receiver speaker with a volume that was practically non-existent, so whenever anybody phoned him he could hardly hear what they were saying plus every time he used it the ringtone volume would also automatically decrease and the next time there was an incoming Scott couldn’t hear it ringing.
So off to Apple. What an amazing place, there are over 40 people working there at any given time and the service was excellent. A lot of small businesses should go and sit at an Apple store for a few hours and take note of the patience and courteous nature of their staff, regardless of looks, style and some very distasteful footwear. I was immensely impressed by their chatty, courteous, friendly attitude, making you feel like you’re really welcome and everybody appears to love their job.
Scott and I meet with Ryan, who immediately took us under his expert wing and got to work on our problem. Scott went through his standard process when meeting a new person starting with the question, ”how old are you?”, 35 he sort of mumbled, confused by the need for Scott to know his age though delighted when Scott replied with “so am I”, as though they had something in common. He then followed with you only look about 25, and he did, see what happens when you never see the sun. You were born in 1979. No said Ryan 78… Quickly Scott replied you were born before me.
Ryan was extremely understanding, supportive and friendly; in fact, like all services we experience with Scott, once you warm to him, you can’t do enough. I always notice when people interact with Scott they are left with a sense of, that was good and I’m a good person.
Phone replaced free of charge, off we went for a hair cut at Northland. I don’t know why, but I felt they would understand Scott at Northland more than Doncaster (for non-local readers these are two different shopping centres, aimed at different points of the socio-economical spectrum) and I was right. At the first hairdressing salon a beautiful, young hairdresser, more than willing to take on Scott’s very anxious attitude to get more friendly than most customers would. Short back and sides later, brilliant and more handsome than before, but not without his usual …..When is your birthday? (Something Scott learnt many years ago when I said it’s rude to ask a ladies age.) Now enlightened with a date, Scott immediately flew back with a very satisfying number, “you’re 19 years old!”, then he began the strange game he has played for years with the maths of calendars and age in his head. “I’m 35, but if I was 25 you would only be 9 years old”, a simple maths deduction that really impressed the hairdressers and by this time we had 3 others in our cutting circle and Scott was in his element, numbers and beautiful girls. What a show off!
We had a great day and Scott thanked me many times later through the night for spending the day with him. I was equally as impressed with our day, we talked in the car and as I saw the day grow I noticed Scott grew as well, he became more confident, calmer, and less fidgety with greater focus on the tasks at hand. There was normality between two friends sharing something and a warm feeling that our coming journey is going to bring us greatness and give us a better understanding of each other…
So much more to come….