George (not his real name) came to the Create Service in Year 10 with complex SEMH needs, an ADHD diagnosis and neuro-developmental problems such as social communication difficulties, and he was known to Social Care and the Youth Offending Team. In previous placements, George had been subject to periods of disruption and crisis linked to challenges in the family dynamics.
George presented in earlier education settings with disruptive, aggressive and physically violent behaviour, directed at both peers and professionals. In these times of disruption he was vulnerable to episodes of arousal and crisis, expressed in patterns of risk-taking and self-harming behaviour which had not been containable in a classroom setting.
The AOT engaged George in his interests – skateboarding and robotics. With a further combination of classroom-based teaching and enrichment activities including museum visits and visits to the local skateboard park, he was quickly stabilised into regular attendance and his aggressive behaviour dramatically reduced. He was ready for a holistic assessment.
George saw the Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who recommended regular music therapy to help George communicate his feelings more effectively. Dyslexia was also diagnosed which enabled Create Service to put the correct literacy skills support into place. George had an Speech & Language Therapy (SALT) assessment which led to a treatment programme including weekly SALT sessions and advice to the AOT on how they could work with George in classes to improve both language and comprehension.
George became increasingly self-aware and confident and started to engage in work with another pupil of a similar age. A broad and balanced curriculum was quickly set and, as part of a small group exercise, he designed and built a remote control car. This inspired him to study a vocational course in motor mechanics where he is achieving good passes in City and Guilds modules.
Amy (not her real name) was a Year 8 pupil who had not attended school for two years. With a complex family background including inter-generational physical and sexual abuse, Amy presented as aggressive, a manifestation of her anxiety and panic given her history of victimisation and abuse. She was also extremely treatment resistant.
Amy’s AOT, Renée, engaged and stabilised Amy, with a focused programme of nurture and curriculum work, using her passion for caring for animals (in particular her pet cat and dogs) and expanding this into hair and beauty, plus veterinary and childcare.
Amy sublimated her compassion for animals and has reflected this into PHSCE work on self care and self nurture. Using role-modelling and projective and symbolisation techniques, Renée helped Amy to consider her own needs for support and clinical treatment.
In consultation with Create’s clinical team, Renée developed a care pathway to assessment. Over a term of intense work, Amy grew in confidence and participated with gusto in music therapy assessment and treatment sessions.
Amy’s enjoyment and discovery of the beneficial and expressive effects of her participation in creative arts therapies empowered her to agree to see our consultant psychiatrist who then diagnosed dyslexia and ADHD as underlying co-morbid obstacles to her educational engagement and progression.
Amy successfully engaged in a treatment programme for ADHD and a dyslexia-adapted curricular approach to her literacy programme. Her reading and writing skills rapidly improved within the first months. After 20 weeks, Amy’s attendance is now over 80% from a start of 0%, prior to admission, and she is achieving in Maths, English, Science and PHSCE.