I’d like to introduce you to Ella. Ella has only been on the No Limits programme since September. Ella is supported 2:1 and has found it difficult settling into a whole new routine transitioning from Wingrave to No Limits. So whenever Ella has a successful day, we like to celebrate this; today was one of those days which wowed me enough to write a blog!
We had planned with Ella at the start of the day to attend the library. Ella is not normally fond of the library, but one of her goals is to try and access a wider variety of community amenities, so we thought this may be a good option to try. Ella accepted this happily and held my hand on the way to the library, after initially being apprehensive and a little anxious.
Ella was given several choices of what she wanted to do whilst in the library, bearing in mind this was a whole new experience for her. Ella chose, with symbols, to do some colouring and I decided to read her a book whilst she did this. We planned this carefully and had a back-up plan if things had not gone to plan.
On arriving at the library, I guided Ella to a quiet area and made sure I sat opposite her so I could make good eye contact and be responsive to her body language and facial expressions. It is very clear to see when Ella is happy or unhappy with something. So by sitting close to her I could provide warmth and touch; offering my hand should she need further reassurance. This also helped Ella to feel safe in the new environment. Ella coloured in her pictures quite happily and kept looking at me and smiling – demonstrating she was listening to the story I was reading to her. I added intonation and humour to the story, which Ella appeared to enjoy.
After about 10 minutes in the library, Ella signalled that she was ready to leave by saying ‘lunch’ and clearly became unsettled – but this length of time in a new environment was a fantastic achievement for Ella. Those of you who know Ella will know what I mean!
Attached is a picture of Ella and myself in the library. We will be trying this session again next week and reflecting on how we can make it more engaging and appealing for Ella. At the end of this day I honestly felt so proud of Ella and even though this sounds like a little achievement, for Ella it was a huge one and I am sure her skills are growing day by day; the way we support Ella is imperative to unlocking her potential.
Community Learning Facilitator
No Limits, Oxfordshire