Andrew was described as having Autism and severe learning difficulties when he came to live at Links in 2012. Initially Andrew was unable to communicate effectively.
However, through support and guidance from the staff team at the home, the Speech Therapy team, the Educational team at his school and his parents, Andrew has grown to understand simple verbal instructions, responding to requests and questions in an appropriate manner.
When Andrew first came to live at Links he was on an additive free diet, despite there being no medical conditions attached to this diet. Menus were adapted in order to accommodate Andrew’s needs. Over time, Andrew trialled school dinners as a way of introducing foods containing additives back into his diet. In 2013, Andrew was introduced to a completely normal diet due to the success of school dinners and he now continues to eat a healthy and well balanced diet of different foods, some of which contain additives.
During his time at Links, Andrew has learnt to walk with a member of the staff team semi-independently. Andrew has gone from being risk assessed as a 2:1 in the community to now being a 1:1 when ‘out and about.’ Andrew now walks alongside a member of staff without the need to be held or restricted (apart from when crossing roads or being out in heavily populated areas).
Andrew now travels both comfortably and confidently on public transport and in taxis. Andrew is also growing in confidence when attending medical and dental appointments. He displays much greater maturity and tolerance than he has shown in these situations prior to coming to Links.
Andrew enjoys a busy social life outside of school; trampolining on a Monday, football on a Tuesday and swimming every other Friday. He regularly visits food and drink establishments and generally copes very well with the distractions of the environment. Andrew has enjoyed many holidays whilst living at the home, including several week long adventure holidays in the Lake District and school trips. Andrew’s family also now feel more confident in their ability to take him on holiday themselves.
Throughout Andrew’s time at Links he has maintained positive and meaningful contact with his family,returning home for overnight visits and every other weekend whenever possible.
Andrew has matured into a wonderful young man with great promise and potential for growth and development.
Andrew recently moved to a similar provision locally as an adult. The staff team at Links have high hopes for Andrew for the future and believe that with consistency, time and patience he will continue to further develop into adulthood as the young man that we will all be so proud of.