The living environment in Schenkenfelden and Pinsdorf offers a therapeutic living and working community for deaf and deafblind people with additional impairments. Every facility involves a living environment (living with complete care) and a working environment (ability-oriented activity), in which the clients personally develop themselves with the support of a qualified and engaged staff. They learn effective social abilities, and they can also customize their social norms. In the living environment visual and tactile communication is used – sign language is the common language. The facilities of the living environment are the facilities of the convent hospital of the Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God in Linz, and they are an organisational part of the institute for mental and speech neurology.
The objective of the living environment is the holistic well-being of deaf people. The living environment achieves this goal via the synergies of different offers and programmes. Due to living in a therapeutic community every person can develop its personal potential accordingly.
A therapeutic community is an organised social structure based on certain principles and methods. It is a community with therapeutic goals in order to support, escort, lead, heal and stand by each other.
Three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) the working day in the therapeutic community begins with meditation. It is an opportunity in which the participants and employees can take part voluntarily.
The meditations provide an opportunity to pick up processes in the community, as well as to have regular discussions related to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore the message of constantly forgiving and supporting each other is kept alive. We become closer acquainted with Jesus through active participation, presentation in role plays and drawings. We pray and sing in sign language. The example of Jesus and his message help in living together as a therapeutic community.
The target group of the living environment is the deaf and the deafblind with multiple impairments and completed compulsory education. Staying is not limited in time. The services are partly financed by the client (if financial resources are available) and partly with the public funds provided by the state government of Upper Austria, department of social issues.
Primarily a need for visual or alternative communication is essential for the admission to the living environment, as well as the ability to be part of a development-oriented therapeutic community.
Our participants share the need for visual and alternative ways of communication in spite of differences regarding the level of development, speech competence, physical and mental impairments.
Self-determination and co-determination is very important for us. Our communities are organised in a way that there are regular consultations with the clients, which are led by selected interest representatives. These client representatives support the clients and inhabitants of the living environment, and they are also invited to attend the employee meetings or team consultations. In addition, they represent the living environment at various public appointments with other facilities and at regional conferences.