From difficult beginnings - When Mr A came to Skills Tank, he presented highly challenging behaviour which included violent outbursts, property damage, shouting, hitting out, kicking, punching and planning revenges on people he didn’t like. His behaviour affected his family who were unable to have any social life and manage him. At home Mr A needed to be frequently restrained and his violent behaviour was a threat to his family.
At Skills Tank Mr A would target members of staff every time he didn’t like something and he often looked for opportunities to lash out at people. He didn’t have any boundaries, lacked the ability to control his emotions and didn’t know how to voice his concerns verbally.
Very quickly - The staff noticed that despite Mr A’s behaviour, he has quite high ability and can participate in all activities that Skills Tank offer. The staff quickly observed that Mr A’s behaviour was also triggered by certain words or objects. He didn’t like the word “No” and became very demanding when he saw Coca-Cola bottles.
Establishing a timetable and firm boundaries for him was a priority. Mr A was given clear and straightforward rules and become involved in group activities such as shopping, car washing, art and craft, cooking, housekeeping, sports, relaxing walks to the park and outdoor trips. The staff also used his reading, writing and numeracy skills as a relaxation technique when Mr A was agitated.
Mr A responded very well and very quickly to the new timetable starting to work well with staff and other students. The staff noticed that a busy schedule helped to control his behaviour. He appeared to be happy when engaged in activities and conversations with staff and he would be calmer if he knew his timetable in advance.
Helping at Home - The staff also involved Mr A’s family to help him to progress further. They introduced daily structure and homework as a way to diffuse his behaviour at home. The family said this has helped to manage Mr A’s behaviour better. The staff are happy with Mr A’s progress and decided on an appropriate learning plan for him. He was involved in confidence building sessions in the community, this positively impacted on his independence skills, coping strategies and behaviour management.
It was prominent that Mr A liked coming to Skills Tank and enjoyed participating in different activities. He began to work hard and started to listen to the staff and follow instructions carefully. The biggest change that staff observed was Mr A’s ability to learn to express his feeling verbally. Mr A began to cooperate with staff and his relationship with them improved. He started to contribute to all activities and show positive work. He gained more independence skills through participating in basic life skills activities. His aggressive behaviour started to subside and staff noted less anger outbursts.
Mr A proved that he can behave well in a group and soon he started to travel on a mini bus. He enjoys trips and behaves well in busy shopping centres, public libraries, nature centres and other places of interest. He’s started to work on friendships through his involvement in photography, cooking and gardening and now makes many cards for students and staff.
What a change! Over the past three years, the staff observed a positive improvement in his behaviour. Previously, Mr A used violence to indicate that he didn’t like something; he would shout and refused to do activities. Now, he is able to express this feeling verbally and he is rarely aggressive towards staff members or other students. He is able to calm down quicker and is better prepared for encountering unpredictable situations.
And now - Mr A, practices social behaviour skills in community settings, he goes out to coffee shops and practices communication during outdoor trips. He is involved in interactive games and role plays which teach him problem solving and reinforce behaviour boundaries through fun and enjoyable group activities.
He goes out cooking, plays sports, does car washing, litter picking and learns practical skills that help him to become a more confident and independent member of the community. His father commented that “Mr A is more manageable at home and has less violent outbursts”.
Skills Tank gave Mr A and his family peace and happiness. His father says “Mr A appears calmer and smiles a lot!”. Mr A’s father had previously been unable to work full time due to his son's behaviours at home. Now, Mr A's father has gone back to full time work, his parents look happier, relaxed and much less stressed.
Mr A now participates in most family occasions and is now able to go for respite for a week giving a break to the family. The family are also able to take him on holiday abroad without facing any major incident while they were away.
Please note: we change all names to protect the individual’s privacy.