Hill House School

Before moving to Hill House

Before coming to Hill House, Daniel was in a constant state of heightened anxiety and was displaying severe self–injurious behaviours on a daily basis, pinching his chest and hitting and rubbing his face.  As a result he had a number of open wounds on his body and was often distressed and physically upset.


Daniel was living at home and was unable to access a school setting, he displayed obsessive and stereotypical behaviours and used very little speech, which meant that he was unable to communicate his needs and choices.


How Hill House supported Tom


Hill House worked closely with Daniel’s family in order to plan his move to the school in detail. Some initial strategies helped Daniel to make the move and enabled him to begin to feel safe, these included supporting Daniel to wear long sleeved tops and a baseball cap in order to protect his body from injury.


Daniel needed to carry lots of small items in his hands to keep him distracted from displaying self - injurious behaviours towards his face and chest and he also needed to hold onto an adult’s arm.  He required activities to be broken down into very small tasks and needed a 'Now and Next' timetable.  


Initially Daniel needed to sit at his own work area away from others and required frequent breaks in between activities.  The education, care and therapy team worked together to support Daniel using a range of strategies including;


• Integrating a Sensory diet into his daily life

• Lego therapy sessions where he could develop his confidence in being with others and taking turns

• Social stories to support Daniel throughout his day

• Specific training from the clinical psychologist and behaviour support team for staff and parents on 'working with self–injurious behaviour'

• Support for parents during visits and trips out

• Dog therapy

• Music therapy

• A Physiotherapy programme

• An Occupational therapy programme  

• Consistent communication systems where Daniel was supported to use PECS (Picture Exchange System) and his voice


The Impact of these Strategies


In the two months prior to Daniel moving to Hill House, a staggering 3,000 incidents of self – injurious behaviour were recorded. In comparison during the sixth months at Hill House there were just 11 incidents of self – injurious behaviour!


Daniel no longer needed to wear his cap and was able to wear a short-sleeved T-Shirt.


He was able to follow a timetable for the whole day and could join in activities for longer than 20 minutes at a time and he was able to follow a work - based system by himself. Daniel enjoyed being praised for his work and sharing it with others.


Daniel no longer needed to hold onto an adult and was able to walk independently around the school.  He could use his voice and was able to spontaneously make verbal requests and choices.


Further to this Daniel was able to transfer his skills and undertake a weekly work experience placement at the local village shop where he helped to stock the shelves and tidy the store.


Daniel went on to achieve over 77 AQA accreditation awards.


He was able to have a trip home and stay with his parents.


He was able to tell us how he was feeling, communicating to us that he liked going to college and in the future that he wanted to live with other people.


Positive Outcomes


"Daniel was finding life tough, a lot of self–injurious behaviour and confusion. It was a difficult time for us and Daniel.


We realised that the setting where he was previously, wasn’t working for him. We went on a journey looking for an alternative placement.  It was a very big decision we had to make as parents.


When we came to Hill House School we knew straight away that this would be the right place for Daniel.


We received excellent support, the team worked so closely with us to find a way to make visits work and Daniel  became familiar with routines and with people.


We love having him at Hill House School, he is like a different boy."


Daniel's Transition from Hill House


Daniel developed in confidence, self – esteem and resilience whilst at Hill House. He was able to use his voice and was also able to learn how to use a range of self–calming strategies which helped him to manage his anxieties and regulate himself.  This enabled Daniel to make the very positive move to his adult home. There he has been able to use the outside spaces including keeping fit, using the outdoor gym and going for walks in the local woods. He is also able to see his family more as they live very locally, his parents are so pleased that Daniel is so much happier in himself now and that he is able to enjoy the things that bring him pleasure such as visiting the local café for a cup of coffee.


*Name has been changed to protect identity