Andrew’s Story – Frinton House
Andrew went from ‘withdrawn and unfulfilled’ to ‘engaged and sociable’ in just 12 months thanks to highly effective observation and support from his key worker, below we share his story.
Andrew, a 56 year old man with autism, severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour, moved to Frinton House 6 years ago following a period in a larger home. A series of review meetings were held before the move involving Andrew’s Mother, a social worker and his key worker. These meetings it was agreed that a more focused environment such as Frinton House with just six beds would provide greater opportunities for Andrew to improve his communication skills and develop independence.
When he arrived at Frinton House, Andrew displayed challenging behaviour and struggled to interact with his peers. At 50, there was concern that he would find it difficult to settle into new surroundings and that the situation may increase Andrew’s anxiety.
To negotiate this transition period, Andrew was provided with very close support. Andrew’s key worker observed him for a significant period of time in order to fully understand the triggers of his challenging behaviour. He responded well to sensory stimulus, particularly anything involving a rhythm or a beat. As a result, his key worker supported him to look at and consider college courses involving music.
At the same time the support team worked with Andrew to gradually build his confidence in stages with the goal of attending a local college. Andrew was initially enrolled at a college attended by two of his peers. He joined an established group and, whilst coping well, it became apparent that he would benefit from a course with increased practical elements to the learning. Together Andrew and his key worker found a singing and drumming course, which appeared well suited given Andrew’s love of music and offering the practical aspects that Andrew enjoyed. With the support of the team Andrew is attending local activities in the community as well, and he continues to build his confidence through talking to people and helping preparing teas. Andrew also helps at the local church with the cleaning which he loves.
Andrew has now been attending his chosen evening course for several weeks. With each session lasting two hours, Andrew is able to meet and interact with others in an environment in which he feels comfortable. Andrew is increasing his level of independence through developing a skill which he has an active interest in. Consequently Andrew’s self-esteem has improved and his family have noticed the progress he has made in a short space of time, with his Family telling us:
“I am very pleased with Andrew’s progress. In the time he has been living at Frinton House, I have never seen him happier.”
Whilst it is early days on his course, Andrew and his key worker are already looking forward to securing places on future courses. Andrew’s key worker added:
“When I first met Andrew, we was withdrawn and unfulfilled. There had been a lot of false starts in trying to get him involved in activities, resulting in him not participating in any social activities.
The observation period was important in fully understanding what makes him tick and what he enjoys – that way we could find something that would engage him and bring his personality out.
Andrew has made enormous progress in a short space of time. He now learns through the college about the theory behind music, socialises with his peers and he recently took part in the end of term music production with the group.”
*names have been changed to protect privacy