Case Study One

A has been a student at Rowden House School for two years. He has a Joubert Syndrome, autistic spectrum disorder, severe learning and communication difficulties.

A has a dedicated family who realised that he was at a point in his life where he needed the specialist support that a residential special school can provide.

When A arrived he had a number of difficulties:

  • Difficulty in making friends due to his extremely high anxiety levels. This anxiety also prevented him from learning.
  • Self-injurious behaviour, linked to anxiety and also used as a means of communication.
  • Difficulty eating and drinking. This had caused him to suffer from a life threatening illness as a young child.
  • Due to weakness in his limbs, A was unable to support his own weight and was mostly confined to a wheelchair or chair.

Due to his complex difficulties, his transition took place over a number of months and involved staff from across education, care and therapy, who worked closely with his parents, to make sure both the physical environment and education and care plans were in place to make the placement successful.

There were four targets:

  • Attend school every day
  • Develop communication skills
  • Ability to use the toilet
  • Try to stand/walk at least once a day

Having a wider range of specialist support means that A is learning new skills and building on existing skills:

  •  A has been supported to accept new people into his life, both adults and young people. He has made friends at Rowden who he visits and attends youth club and does other activities with.
  • A still needs a high level of support to eat but this has improved as his carers have been trained to specifically meet his needs.
  • He is learning to widen his communication; understanding is no longer exclusive to his family and team. He is now able to share his thoughts, feelings and hopes and is proficient in the use of Makaton.
  • A now has a kaye walker and can walk independently.
  • A started lessons as soon as he arrived, with high level support from a dedicated classroom assistant. He achieved short periods of schooling, gradually increasing to all morning and now all day. After 12 months A joined a class with four other young people and a new teacher. He has had 100% attendance in school.
  • His self-injurious behaviour has now decreased as his anxiety levels have dropped and he has been taught ways in which to communicate.