I met him when he was in Year Nine at a local school, doing well academically, but struggling to make sense of the social aspects of school life, particularly understanding the ‘banter’ of his peers. He found the school day very tiring and stressful.
In Year Ten, we negotiated a reduced timetable. This allowed space in the day for him to work and have quiet time to recharge his batteries. It also provided for one-to-one sessions with LSAs and time with David to go through incidents visually to aid his social understanding.
He gained good GCSE results and joined the Sixth Form. We carefully planned his transition in order for him to understand what the differences in daily school life would be, and to provide him with a step by step introduction to Year Twelve.
As David matured, he realised the subjects he had picked for AS were not leading him down the route he felt comfortable with and despite much support from some of the staff it became clear that the best way for him to achieve his ambitions was to restart Sixth Form studying different subjects.
I liaised closely with David, his parents and staff at the school and we jointly came to the decision that a transition to another school which offered more relevant A level subjects was required. This caused David much anxiety but, with careful planning, he soon settled at his new school and also managed to keep in touch with some of his friends from his previous school.
As he relaxed into his studies, his personality started shining out, he managed to cope well academically with sensitive support and achieved the necessary grades for entry to university at a small arts based campus in an easily navigable town.
His mother reported “He doesn’t venture far from the campus but is coping well with washing, cooking and flat sharing. The people on his course are very kind and he has commented that he hasn’t met one horrible person. He doesn’t do student life but does go to some social evenings and hangs out playing pool and chatting.
He has struggled with some aspects of his course but sees a learning mentor once a week and has come to realise that everyone has different strengths and things he finds easy others struggled with.
We have discovered Skype which is of course a great way to get David’s attention as you are on screen!”
David is at home for the summer, but working in preparation for next year and volunteering at a charity shop two mornings a week. He still expresses anxiety about not being able to complete the entire course but is keen to try.
I have every confidence that David will pass his final exams and manage to cope in the world of work.
* We’ve changed the name for confidentiality