Emily came to Hesley’s Independent Specialist College aged 20, requiring two staff to support her at any one time because of her complex needs. High anxiety and frequent aggression could necessitate physical intervention and Emily often chose to wear a walking harness so she could feel safe and secure. Educational opportunities were few and community access very limited. Emily responded very positively to the opportunities available through College and made great progress. Over her first year she relinquished her harness and required no physical intervention at all. She learnt to much better self-regulate her behaviour and participate fully in a varied programme based on her needs and interests. Emily now attends all sessions at college and for example, regularly goes with staff to town on the bus, which previously would have been too risky. Emily now handles what each day brings with much less advanced planning. She is settled and happy and her support needs are consistently much lower. For the first time in many years, her future looks bright. In short, Emily is thriving on a more adult approach to life.
Danny just could not tolerate change - in anything. Changes to routine would cause him marked agitation and to slap peers, family and staff. Disney DVD’s were a pre-occupation and had to be bought. Their unavailability would precipitate aggression. Danny had very limited speech before coming to college, with which to communicate his needs and wishes. The intensive interaction the college setting can afford, together with experienced and expert multi-disciplinary support assisted Danny, with great effort from himself, to make excellent progress. Social stories helped him digest information. Visual information helped him order events and plan. He now accepts change much more readily, his aggression is much less and he thinks his actions through, walking away instead of lashing out. Danny’s home visits are now successful. He sits and interacts with his siblings and their friends. Danny shops, using a varied list, choosing alternatives if items are unavailable. Danny talks much more freely. Speech and language therapy is helping him broaden his vocabulary even further. He is consistently positive about his life. The realistic possibility of a sustainable positive future for Danny has started to emerge.