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The Life Story of Ronel Cordier

Ronelle is 47 years old. She was initially admitted to Alexandra Hospital in Maitland in May 1973 as a voluntary boarder. She went back home in April 1997 and was later re-admitted to Alexandra in October 1997. Ronelle moved to Includid in 1998. She has been diagnosed as being bi-polar, mildly autistic with a low IQ and will always need some support and supervision. Ronelle is literate to a basic extent. She enjoys knitting and works in the sewing group every weekday. She is not able to live independently in the community.

Ronelle tells his story...
(in her own words)

I lived with my parents and my sister Antoinette and brother, Andre. I slept on the top bunk, but fell off. My sister helped me up and she took the top bunk then I slept at the bottom. I don't know how old I was then, I was quite small. After I fell out of my bunk my mum took me to hospital. At the hospital the doctor said I must stay there until I am healthy. I was in the hospital a long time. I was in ward 2, but I didn't want to stay there but my mom said I must stay. The ward looked different. From ward 2 I moved to ward 4 with all my clothes. From ward 4 I moved to the Autistic unit. From there I went to the old ward 11. Then to the new ward 11, then ward 17. It was a hospital in Cape Town I don't know the name. They were kind to me and looked after me. My mother and my sister came to visit me in hospital. My dad was very sick, he had a stroke in Ottery. My mother and father are both now dead. My brother lives in Cyprus. I don't hear from him. I hear regularly from my sister. She lives in Bothasaig.

I went to Veras school (A school for autistic children, in Cape Town. Ronelle attended the school until the age of 21) I don't know where it was but it was not in Cape Town. All types of children went to the school. I moved to Alexandra Hospital when I was still a child. There were too many people in the ward, it was noisy. They shut the autistic unit down and I was moved to ward 11 which was nice as it was new. Then I was moved to a house in the grounds of Alexandra. I stayed there for a long time. I had no job there. I had to eat what they gave me. The food was nice. I dressed myself every day. I did exercise for my leg which was so sore. I don't need to do the exercises anymore. I picked my own clothes to wear.

I went home for some years and then I moved to Includid. My mother moved me here. She was getting too old and finding it hard to look after me.

I moved to Alden house first, then Garden Cottage, later Double Storey and now I live in Lighthouse. I clean my own room. I clean the kitchen. I make cups of tea for everybody. Nine people live in Light House. I share my room. I have a cupboard with my own clothes in and everyday I chose what to wear.

During the day I go to work in the sewing group. I like knitting very much. I can knit a scarf and mittens. I go there every Monday to Friday. I get paid to do this. I like money and I get paid every Friday. I spend all the money on chips cool drinks and biscuits. I go to the shops by myself. People help me in the shop. I go to the shop just around the corner from Includid.

On my birthday I had a treat. I can't remember what I did.

I go to bed when I like. I get up when I like but I must be at work at 8.30. When I lived in the hospital they told me when to get up. It was very early. I didn't have control of my life when I lived in the hospital, but I do now at Includid. Today I get a lot of money, nice food and I come to work in the morning and I go back home 15:30pm. I watch TV at home and I eat at 5o'clock and I choose to go to bed early.

My sister comes to visit me. I'm always very excited to see her. She brings me nice things to eat and we talk.

I have a mobile phone. I like watching 7 de Laan on the t.v. I speak Afrikaans and English.

Ronel's video life story
Ronelle, telling us
her life story
Ronel wookbook
Ronelle taking us through
her Workbook
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