After taking over as Ben’s keyworker in September, Ben has made remarkable progress in the space of less than a year. Credit must be given to Vicky Paterson and all the staff who worked with Ben at different times prior to my takeover as Ben’s keyworker. Credit should also be given to Andy Hubball, Helen Cashman and Steve Gillow for working with Ben this year. All staff that have worked with Ben have made a significant difference to his life, whether it is on a small scale or a large one.
Ben has continued with his schemes of work from the last two years that involve shopping, cooking, reviewing newspapers and office skills. With his cooking, Ben has tried out a variety of different meals. Ben always makes decisions based on his schedule in regards to his cooking and cooks meals based on the amount of time he has. This is a remarkable trait for someone with autism. Sometimes people with autism can struggle with change, but not Ben. Ben is steadfast and ready to solve all problems that land on his doorstep. Ben can really turn around certain situations like this to his advantage. His attitude is exactly the same during his office skills sessions as he prioritises tasks based on time and completes most of his work on the day. All the staff that work with him are always very impressed by him.
However, since January, Ben has excelled in terms of coping with huge changes in a short space of time. Ben has embraced two work experience placements: one at South Oxfordshire Food and Education Alliance and the other at Rainbow House in Oxford. Considering Ben was reluctant to work, this is a radical step for Ben as he has started two placements in one term. Ben has also completed a politics scheme of work to help prepare him for his duties as a citizen after life at MacIntyre. Finally, Ben completed an employment scheme of work this term to help equip him with the skills he needs to be successful in the world of work. In a short space of time, Ben has achieved significant progress and maintained his efforts from the last two years. I have no doubt Ben will succeed after MacIntyre and he has the world at his feet. If Ben can succeed, then I have no doubt anyone at MacIntyre can succeed. So if you feel you are getting nowhere with a student, please read about Ben’s progress and remember anything is possible.
When I first started I was very reluctant to do anything at college. I was also having to travel from Bicester all the way to Abingdon as well. I already knew Abingdon quite well due to my grandparents living here, so that helped somewhat. A couple of months into my first year, the council changed my transport to a special needs minibus with a couple of other kids which took about 1 – 2 hours to get home per day since I was doing 4 days at the time.
During this time was when Vicky Pattison came into the picture as my main keyworker for what turned out to be nearly 2 years. Before this I had Helen Cashman, who was one of the managers, as well. Sometime after this, my mother and I moved to Abingdon to be closer to my grandparents which also helped me get to MAP as it meant that I did not need the council’s minibus anymore. Even now I was still reluctant to really go into college. Vicky had to come to my place to collect me per day. During this time, I also had Hilda join my programme. She worked with me on Thursdays. We even changed the timings a bit so I only did 3 days per week as well at some point which helped me a lot. That is still the case today.
Since Vicky started working with me, I started to change for the better. It took a long while, but it worked. We did all sorts of stuff like cooking, reading newspapers and I even helped in the office. There was even one time that I planned a trip to London that went really well along with other things. It helped my Mum, who is my main carer as well, so she did not have to worry about me too much. Over time I also became more independent as I was turning up to college on my own and even going to the shop as well. Hilda also just left me to it when we were cooking in the kitchen which proves this. Overall, I just got better everyday day.
Near the end of my second year, however, Vicky and Hilda were leaving. This was sad for me. Before that, however, I ended up getting some award from the college which I and others from the main part of college collected at Blenheim Palace near the end of the year. During my last day with Vicky, we went to the cinema in Oxford to watch Minions, which was pretty good. After the day was over, the news sank that Vicky was leaving. I had no idea who was taking her place following it all which haunted me throughout the whole of the summer holidays. Near the end of the holidays, Vicky was still with MacIntyre up until the beginning of the new academic year. Vicky contacted me on my mobile phone, which I got somewhere in the previous year, to inform me that someone called Matthew Snape, who I did an interview with during the last year, would be my new keyworker for the new academic year.
Since the start of this year, Matt and I did a lot of stuff together. I was pretty much continuing with the previous year’s timetable for a start. But that started to change a little almost half way through. Since then I have done two schemes of work; one on politics and one on employment. The politics scheme of work has enabled me to update my knowledge on current affairs. The employment scheme of work helped prepare me for work. Speaking of work, I even have two work experience placements currently which were only set up just before the Easter holidays as well. When I started with this a year ago, I was not really happy about the idea. The fact that I have two placements now shows how much I have changed.
All in all, the progress I made in nearly 3 years is a lot which has helped me become a better person overall.
Matthew Snape and Ben
Community Learning Facilitator
No Limits Oxfordshire