James came to Hesley needing high levels of support; he displayed extreme levels of anxiety, low self esteem and had regular crisis outbursts showing a disregard and aggressive nature towards other students.
James displayed low levels of engagement in education and always sought out computer time, remaining unwilling to engage in other learning opportunities presented to him. Careful, person centred support was provided through work by MDT colleagues in college.
We reviewed and adapted his learning programme to reflect his complex and very specific needs. This young person was prepared for the world of work through in house work experience which allowed for positive reinforcement at a pace he could cope with. He was placed on a work related pathway that gave him opportunities to see he can achieve great things and does have skills he can do something tangible with, skills that contribute to the community and build his self esteem.
This has now led to a one day a week work placement with a social enterprise programme in his local city. This forms part of his larger college timetable and offers James an opportunity to transfer the skills he has learnt during his internal Hesley Group work experience.
James is now taking part in life experiences in preparation for his next placement in a different and wider community.
James’s working week better matches his aspirations and involves both work placement and further education college studies alongside direct MDT input from the Specialist Colleges’ team.
How this has changed James’s life is of key significance. He is now making new friends for the first time in his life, developing new relationships in the wider world and widening his social circle far beyond what it used to be.
James is finding out much more about workplace requirements, work ethics and responsibilities that will stand him in good stead for his next steps. He is much less anxious about his life and the direction in which it is going.
James is challenged more and has to deal with more complex experiences, change, dilemmas and even some confrontation that supports his need to develop better independent coping strategies. James is travelling to college by public transport and learning to use money in more appropriate context.
Ultimately, James is now better equipped for his next move and, although there are still numerous areas to work at, through his positive life experiences he is so much more optimistic about his future.