Behaviour Support Practitioner, Ellie Lanyon, has had a long and wonderful relationship with Rocky Bay.
As a high student, Ellie volunteered at Rocky Bay where her desire to empower people to realise their potential began.
“My passion for supporting people with disability began when I spent time at Rocky Bay on a volunteer placement through my school – I loved it. After I finished a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Western Australia, I came back to volunteer at the Studio,” Ellie said.
After volunteering, and with university completed, Ellie made the move across the country to sunny Sydney for a job opportunity.
“I worked as a Team Leader in the Adults and Behaviour Support division of Autism Spectrum Australia,” Ellie said.
“I ran the art program and had lots of memorable experiences on community outings with the customers.”
After a rewarding career that spanned six years, Ellie moved back home to Perth where she began a Graduate Diploma of Education online course with Monash University.
In 2009, while still studying, Ellie returned to Rocky Bay, this time as a Support Worker in Community and later took on a Support Worker role in the Lucy Creeth Residence, where she eventually became Team Leader.
Ellie developed a great connection with the residents, one that she still has today. She would often bring in her dog Bubba, a Chihuahua, to visit with the residents and provide comfort.
“Bubba was always a perfect angel with the residents!” Ellie said.
“(Working at Lucy Creeth) I loved the interaction with the customers and the rapport you develop. When you’re responsible for someone’s care, you have to develop a real relationship of trust.”
On completing her Diploma, Ellie extended her studies further by undertaking a Certificate in Special Education. With plenty of qualifications now behind her, it was time to find a role in education.
Ellie left Rocky Bay in January 2013 and started a nine year career as an Education Support Teacher at Sir David Brand School in Coolbinia, which provides individually structured programs for students with disabilities, teaching an intensive behaviour support class.
While working in education support, Ellie continued to visit Lucy Creeth as a guest, spreading joy among the residents by bringing Bubba with her to visit.
“Every six weeks or so I’d come in with Bubba and often sit with Susie (our late customer who sadly passed away in 2019). I’ve always had that contact with them…I’m loving being back now and seeing them again and having a chat.”
After nine years in the education sector, this year Ellie decided to specialise in behaviour support, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
“I inadvertently developed my passion for behaviour support,” Ellie said.
“So I was excited to see a Behaviour Support Practitioner role at Rocky Bay advertised, but didn’t think I’d have much of a chance as I’m not from an allied health background. I was thrilled to be offered an interview, and then the job!”
Ellie has now been Behaviour Support Practitioner with Rocky Bay since August 2021.
It was her great professional relationship with Rocky Bay that motivated her to apply for the role, as well as the opportunities that abound for staff.
“The opportunity for training and specialisation…it seemed like an area where I could make a real difference to people with disabilities,” Ellie said.
“I am loving seeing some familiar faces again and meeting new people. I feel privileged to be part of the Behaviour Support team. They have been welcoming and encouraging, and have made my transition into the clinical field a smooth one.”
Ellie explains Behaviour Support as working with an individual and the system surrounding them to identify and address any unmet needs. Our Behaviour Support Practitioners can also provide training to carers and loved ones
“The overall picture is of improving someone’s quality of life, and viewing behaviours of concern as a form of communication. With the idea that when a person’s unmet needs are addressed, we may see a reduction in the frequency and intensity of those behaviours.
“Interactions with customers involve a lot of rapport building, sometimes you’re talking about very sensitive topics so you need to establish a very trusting relationship. We do a lot of functional behaviour assessments to hopefully give us some more information on underlying causes (to challenging behaviour), and that helps us in writing Behaviour Support Plans.”
Ellie said she would strongly encourage anyone to apply for a role with Rocky Bay, and for people with experience in the disability sector, or with a passion for Behaviour Support, to consider joining the team.
“The atmosphere in our team is of genuinely wanting to improve the lives of our customers.
“Rocky Bay is very supportive of accruing staff with diverse background experience. Everyone has their own strengths that they can bring to a role. I’m not from a clinical background, but I have front-line experience with behaviour support.
“The team are very supportive of me and the different skill set that I have… It’s a very exciting time for our team.”