Caleb* came to Brookways with a background of repeated exclusions from previous schools. He was extremely withdrawn and anxious when he first came to the school and was often found hiding behind a beanbag. One team member described him as “a little shadow”, reluctant to engage with staff or with his schoolmates.
Before Brookways, Caleb had three previous placements in both mainstream and specialist schools, none of which could meet his needs, particularly in regard to his sensory needs. Caleb was unable to express himself and he was lashing out. However, at Brookways, a combination of factors have help Caleb settle and make progress both academically and socially. These factors needed to address his high sensory needs and his social and emotional needs.
As a specialist environment designed specifically to meet the needs of young people with an autism spectrum condition, the school’s low arousal learning and social spaces better meet Caleb’s needs and allow him to feel safe and settled. The team have helped him with his social skills and through stretching and challenging him academically, he is working towards a GCSE curriculum. His social and emotional needs are being met through positive behaviour support and positive relationship building with the staff team and his peers. Through this, he is learning he is able to express himself in positive and safe ways, which is a hugely positive difference.
Having been extremely reserved when he first arrived at Brookways, through careful integration, patience and positive support, Caleb is now bonding with and socialising with his peers. The team at Brookways say Caleb is much happier, not involved in negative behaviour and is very much enjoying school. His self-esteem and confidence continue to grow and he is making excellent progress.
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity.