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Home > News > Blogs > Our Services > Donald's Move

Donald's Move

Rachel Cromie

Rachel Cromie chats to us about a young man called Donald who is settling in to life at New Ridgepark.

In July 2013 Donald Kent left New Struan School to move to New Ridgepark, our transitional assessment service in Lanark. Here, Scottish Autism offer individuals a sustained period of assessment and support in order to build a greater understanding of the person's autism and how this impacts on their life and, crucially, their future support needs.  For Donald, this move came with a few challenges, but mostly lots of new and exciting opportunities for him.

The transition was carefully planned over a six month time frame and involved his parents, school residence staff and staff at New Ridgepark. During this time Donald became familiar with his new Support Workers who enabled him to settle in and adjust to his new residence.

Before coming to New Ridgepark, Donald was finding it difficult to take part in community based activities such as swimming, eating in restaurants and attending appointments. He also preferred to eat meals alone in his bedroom as opposed to eating with his family or peers.  Support Workers, Cheryl Swan and Margaret-Anne Hamill were proactive in putting strategies in place to best support Donald to gain confidence in accessing the community. They did this through frequent communications with Donald’s parents, taking guidance from them and providing updates on new activities and achievements. Since arriving at New Ridgepark, staff have supported Donald to participate in activities that he once enjoyed.

The success in enabling Donald to participate in activites he enjoys has come from careful planning and organising. Staff planned Donald’s weekly and longer term visual schedules working alongside Lesley, Donald’s mum.  They built upon the effective communication system Lesley already had in place to reflect Donald’s new routines and choices.  Donald now participates in communication meetings twice a day using a visual communication passport. At times he has required more information and so social stories were created to enhance his understanding, particularly for new activities and outings. 

With the use of these visual aids and a consistent approach from staff, Donald has made excellent progress, participating in a range of community based activities such as bowling, swimming, eating in different restaurants, visiting the café, local library and accessing public transport. As well as this, Donald has overcome some hurdles and has had his first ever trip to the hairdressers and on subsequent visits has moved from scissors to the shaver. He has successfully attended doctors’ appointments, had his first shaving experience and has enjoyed meals out with his family.

Donald enjoys bowling

Donald has been building and developing skills through carefully planned programmes including washing his laundry and cooking. New opportunities based on what motivates Donald are currently being planned. This will include computer and education focused activities and a work based opportunity. With continued support and realistic goals we are confident that Donald will progress from strength to strength in the future.