As my time at Southlands draws to a close, I reflect on all that has happened over this last decade, the many events that together, led me to where I am today.
When I first came to Southlands at age ten I was, to say the least, quite the handful. Back then I didn't know how to deal with my anger and let it bubble up until I exploded. However, over the years many staff members have poured their heart and soul into helping me achieve my personal best; as they say: "Everyone has a personal best".
If I were to list all staff members that have helped me over the last decade we would be here until Christmas, so I will be listing those that have helped me the most. The following staff have gone above and beyond to help, support and teach me how to cope with my difficulties: Lyn Keady, Kim Pitman, Keith Baxter, Andrew Simmons, John Stevens, Mark Stocker, Jack Murphy, and finally, Richard Orton.
All those staff I just listed have been there for me when I needed them most. I cannot thank them enough. Also a massive thank you to any staff member who has helped me in any way, shape or form. To those that have worked with me in the past but aren't mentioned above please remember, you are all hugely appreciated and I am forever grateful for all you have done.
Lastly, I wish to particularly thank a certain staff member who, if it wasn't for them, I would not be here, I would not have gone to college, I would not have been the man I am today. Richard Orton, I cannot thank you enough for all you have done not only for me, but my family too. The moment you became my 1:1 something changed. That something greatly reduced both the severity and frequency of my incidents. I am sure you are wondering what it was that changed. Well what changed was that I finally had someone who understood me, cared for me, and treated me not only like my age, but as an equal. Richard, you were that person that I needed to get me out of the rabbit hole of aggression. You will always be considered a great friend to me and my family.
I am soon going to leave the place that I have lived for many years, but I will remain here in spirit. I hope that the school will allow me to return once a year for the annual celebration day.
Lastly, I wish to thank the following groups of people; the kitchen staff, the educational team, the care team, maintenance, Senior Management, Therapy, the cleaners, and finally, my fellow students. My life would not be the same as it is today without all of you. I wish you all well."