Johnnie's story

Johnnie is a 19-year-old man, who lives with Apert Syndrome and learning disabilities.

Johnnie Everest

Johnnie communicates using hand and eye signals which can be limiting and frustrating for him and as a result, his previous SEN (Special Education Needs) school had reported that he exhibited significant behaviours that challenge.

Johnnie left school in July 2023 and his family were keen to find him daytime activities that would enable him to access community activities outside of his normal routine on a weekly basis, as well engage in stimulating sensory activities.

Due to the reported behaviours, ECL Colchester called upon ECL Positive Behaviour Advisor, David Hitchin to assess Johnnie and create a plan that would ensure Johnnie would have a smooth transition to the day centre.

The support staff at ECL Colchester underwent specialist training on how to support an individual in a person-centred way, in times of crisis.

The ECL team took time to get to know Johnnie well and ascertain how best to meet his needs prior to him joining the day centre. David visited him at home and an ECL Colchester team leader visited him both at his school, and at another day centre that he attended. The team communicated weekly with Johnnie’s mum to keep her updated on progress.

Johnnie was then introduced to the day centre on a gradual basis, starting with one hour at a time and slowly increasing his time there until he was attending one full day a week by November 2023.

The phased approach, planning, and staff training paid dividends and Johnnie has settled in at ECL Colchester very well. Johnnie has not exhibited any behaviours that challenge and seems very happy when at the day centre. He is even managing to travel to the day centre by Ugo bus with two other customers and is coping admirably, which is a great achievement.

Johnnie’s mum is the first to admit that at first she felt let down by the delay to Johnnie starting at ECL, she commented: “It was extremely challenging to have Johnnie at home so much after being used to him going to school five days a week, however ECL have worked hard to make sure that he can be safely and effectively supported and it is evident from his behaviour that he feels secure and happy there.”

ECL Day Opportunities Manager, Kendra Wilkins added “we are very proud of Johnnie, it’s such a huge change after the familiarity of school, but he has settled in with us so well. The delayed start has understandably been difficult for his family and we would always urge families and education settings to involve us early in the transition planning process so that we are able to prepare for a new customer to join us as they leave school or college.”