When Maurice Ukich first joined Interchange in 1991, he was quiet, reserved and fearful of people. Since then, he has spent 25 years growing, challenging himself and adding to his list of firsts.
Maurice spent a lot of time at the North Fremantle Football Club in his early days, where he met and became friends with Interchange customers Mick, Veronica, Bronwyn, Adrian and Samantha. His Community Facilitator and now Manager of the Myaree Service Centre, Brett Bradley, supported him to improve his health and fitness, as well as his social skills.
When he was younger, Maurice was extremely sensitive to people and movement around him, so he worked with Brett to adjust to being in social settings with incremental visits to shopping centres, parks and places like the zoo. These activities were supported by a customised Positive Behaviour Support plan, which helped Maurice address some of his challenging
behaviour. Maurice and Brett also worked on Maurice’s social and fine motor skills by with regular ball exercises and games of soccer with other Interchange customers.
Maurice was one of the original members of the Interchange art group, where he showed great creative passion and promise. He also sent many years involved with the Bluegum Music Group, playing the tambourine.
Maurice lived with his Mum for many years before moving into shared accommodation with friends a few years ago. This transition was carefully planned and supported by Interchange, with initial trips away to get him used to staying away from home.
After moving out of home, the next goal was to conquer Maurice’s fear of public transport. The team at our Maddington Service Centre supported Maurice to first spend time outside the train station, before graduating to the platform and eventually, the train itself. Maurice has developed from someone who would refuse to catch a train or sit on a seat, to someone who now regularly enjoys catching the train and the ferry into the city.
Since then, Maurice has continued to flourish. Whilst he is a non-verbal communicator, he uses flash cards to communicate and loves a joke and a laugh, as well as cooking and sharing meals with his housemates.