When we first met David*
David is a young man with a mixed diagnosis including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessional compulsion disorder, dyslexia, development coordination disorder and moderate to severe learning difficulties. After an initial assessment period including visits and overnight stays, it was agreed that Cambian Pengwern College would be able to meet David’s unique care and educational needs. His parents were thrilled and the person-centred transition work began.
When David came to us
David joined Cambian Pengwern College as a residential learner and at first exhibited challenging behaviours such as verbal and physical aggression. His language difficulties impacted on his social and communication skills as well as his comprehension and expression levels, which left him frustrated and anxious. He would mask these difficulties by echoing and copying speech without understanding the full meaning of what he had said.
David had little understanding of travel safety and this had an impact on his level of independence. He required supervision most of the time, particularly during transitions. Staff observed his behaviour and developed a clear personalised management and individual learning plan to assist David in achieving his own goals and greater independence.
Staff developed very clear routines and boundaries for David and any changes were discussed with him first to give him the necessary time to adjust. His timetable was split into theoretical and practical activities and included numerous sporting activities and regular work experience placements. David was encouraged to choose activities in advance to minimise anxiety.
Within the safe environment of the college David was able to develop his confidence on routine tasks and develop an understanding of risks so that he could start to function with greater independence.
The college supported David to increase his communication skills using tools such as pictures and social stories. As his ability to communicate increased, his challenging behaviours decreased. Staff utilised positive behavioural support and consistent best practice approaches and drew from PHP guidance and therapeutic reports to increase David’s community access and experiential learning. This in turn reduced his anxieties and enabled positive participation in college life.
David has developed into a confident, happy, engaged and polite young man who has truly excelled and defied initial expectations. He worked eagerly and with enthusiasm in his final year of college and achieved academically and socially. David also enjoyed participating in a local theatre dance group and performing on stage.
David no longer requires continual 1.1 support. He developed effective coping mechanisms to self-regulate his anxieties and developed positive relationships with the staff and his peers.
David also became an active member of the college’s Student Council and attended and contributed to meetings on a regular basis, positively and passionately representing the voice of other learners.
What is the future like for David?
David was supported through the transition process to move back to his local area and now lives in a semi supported house with 3 other people.
David sees his family on a regular basis but has his own busy social life too. He attends a work placement in his local community and further education course at a local college. David loves being active and regularly meets with friends to play pool and for his local learning disability football team.
* Name had been changed to protect identity