Beech Court – Ryan’s Success Story

December 20, 2019

Ryan, an individual with learning disabilities and autism moved to Beech Court, a residential service in Southampton, Hampshire in October 2018 after his previous placement broke down.

Ryan had been living in a shared residential service for several years however, his behaviour had become more challenging and after an incident at the home, Ryan lost his confidence in the support team and the support team lost their confidence in supporting Ryan.

At Beech Court, individuals live within a residential setting, but have their own self-contained flats. For Ryan, this meant he could have the space he needed and environmental triggers such as noise and people, could be controlled and minimised. Being within a residential setting also meant Ryan had the security and stability of having the support team always to hand.

The team were confident they could support Ryan to achieve a better quality of life. To do this, they worked closely with Jenny from Consensus’ Positive Behaviour Intervention Team who visited every week.  Jackie, Beech Courts team leader, trained by Consensus to support the PBS process, gathers critical data and helps to analyse what approaches are working or not working; this in turn helps Jenny plan and implement Positive Behaviour Strategies that have helped minimise Ryan’s behaviours and increased his confidence and independence.

Ryan is limited in his ability to communicate verbally. One of the behaviours that Ryan displayed was to raise his fists up which had been interpreted as aggression, causing people to panic and move away or seek safety. Jenny identified that raising his fists was Ryan’s way of trying to communicate. Ryan didn’t understand why people were reacting the way they were and not being understood left him feeling anxious. This then resulted in behaviour other people found challenging.

Once this had been recognised the key for the team was to support Ryan with alternative methods of communication that enabled him to express himself and be easily understood.

For example; Ryan would say single words such as McDonalds, this was eventually interpreted not as a demand to go, but a question, asking, “when am I going to McDonalds?” To help answer this question a small poster was placed on Ryan’s wall with the number of sleeps written on it until his next trip to McDonalds.  The same poster approach was used for his mum’s next visit.  Each day Ryan will reduce the number down by one on the planner boards.

Photo boards of staff were also introduced so Ryan knew who would be working with him on the three shifts each day.  Ryan has been known to remove the photo of a member of staff if they have been on the early and the late shift which was a positive way Ryan could request a change of staff which the team would then implement.

Jenny now comes to visit once a month to review the Positive Behaviour Support plan. She looks at what strategies are working, what are not working, if there is anything that is no longer necessary and adapts and evolves approaches in order to encourage further positive outcomes.

A calmer and happier Ryan

When Ryan had his annual review in October 2019, it was agreed that there had been a total transformation in his behaviour and well-being. He is now calmer, much happier and the anxiety that triggered his behaviours has been greatly reduced. Ryan’s bubbly personality has begun to shine through as well as his cheeky sense of humour.

An active and independent life

Having a settled pattern has reduced Ryan’s anxiety and enabled the team to support Ryan to work towards greater independence.  He is supported to have a busy and varied life and to get out and about in the community. He enjoys a range of regular activities from crazy golf, ten pin bowling, open top bus rides, travelling on the train and swimming, and has also enjoyed several planned days out including a trip to an Air show and days out around the forest and the seaside towns like Bournemouth.

Working towards his goals

Ryan is also being supported to work towards goals that are important to him. One of Ryan’s goals is to go to visit the cinema to watch a film. Ryan can become anxious in crowded places, so the service is gradually supporting him to achieve this goal by firstly supporting him to watch films in the home cinema they have created within their summer house in the garden which Ryan loves. This is helping to build up his confidence and resilience with the aim that in the future he will be able to attend a public cinema and enjoy that experience too.

A proud and positive support team

Reflecting on Ryan’s achievements, Andrew Duckworth, Service Manager at Beech Court said, “We are all so proud of Ryan and what he has achieved over the last 14 months. Ryan’s mum is also delighted with the positive difference in Ryan and says, “he is going back to the person I once knew.””