Ambition is one of the Dimensions five values – and being ambitious on the behalf of the people we support is crucial in helping them to achieve their goals and dreams.
With the right support, there’s no limit to the things that people with learning disabilities and autism can achieve. And this couldn’t be truer of Namaan, a gentleman we support in the South, who has just completed the first year of his Maths degree at Reading University.
Namaan flew through his A Levels, finishing with an A* and A in Maths. And although the challenge of university would not be a struggle for him academically, it was the social and lifestyle aspects that posed the biggest challenge for Namaan, his staff team and family.
Namaan’s autism requires very high levels of support needs. He is supported five days a week, has very little social skills and gets incredibly anxious in his day to day life. The prospect of university created some very tangible issues to plan and prepare for.
We pride our staff on having a “can-do” attitude and always doing what’s best for the individual. So Naaman’s staff team, Exerbia and Duncan, set about doing all they could to prepare him for starting university.
There were lots of obstacles to overcome. Communication was key. Not only did they need to prepare Namaan, but they also needed to put his Mum’s mind at ease. After all, she knows him better than anyone else and was anxious at the prospect of such a massive change. Knowing that he was prepared for and feeling confident about university life was integral to the success of his studies.
When Namaan started, there were a number of issues that arose. For example, if anyone sat in his chair in class, he would get very upset. He needed Exerbia and Duncan’s support all the time to ensure he got the regular breaks he needed and knew where to go for his classes.
As Namaan takes things very literally, he didn’t realise that recommended reading was just that – recommended and not essential.
Though the course gave him paper copies of the recommended reading, to him that wasn’t a book, so he would get the books out at the library but didn’t understand they had to be returned which would lead to fines and a meltdown.
With time and communication with his course tutors and course mates, these issues were overcome.
He has now got to know his tutors and course mates and is getting on incredibly well. He has just passed his first year and achieved excellent grades – even in the dreaded “statistics” module!
These successes can be attributed not only to the hard work of Namaan, but also his staff team.
He has a fantastic relationship with Exerbia and Duncan and they have been there every step of the way, rooting for his success.
What’s important is Exerbia and Duncan were ambitious for Naaman. Ambitious that with the right support, he could achieve anything.
Couldn’t we all learn a lesson from that?