Case Study 3


Several years ago - Miss H joined Skills Tank. She presented highly challenging behaviour and was very unpredictable with rapid mood swings.  She would run away, kick, hit, bite, throw objects and damage property at anytime for no obvious reason.

She was violent in taxis, she was aggressive towards her family, our staff and students; she would swear and shout a lot if she didn’t like something.  She was demanding, often agitated and had a tendency to self-harm as well as develop obsessions towards specific items.  She had a very short concentration span and frequently refused to do activities.  Initially we had to adopt physical behaviour strategies to moderate her aggression, as her behaviour significantly affected her family situation.

At Skills Tank Miss H was given a timetable and was offered a range of interactive community based activities.  In the beginning she rejected them all; instead she preferred to walk around the classroom and sleep.  She didn’t want to adhere to the timetable and kept being aggressive every time something didn’t go her way.  Her behaviour and motivation was predominantly triggered by her mood and physical    well-being.

Gradually, the staff introduced Miss H to the rules at Skills Tank and started to teach her appropriate social behaviour skills though talking to her about firm boundaries and showing behaviour picture cards.  It took a few months before Miss H decided to join other students in activities.

Slowly but surely - she began to come to Skills Tank in a better mood, the staff noted better behaviour in taxis and observed a willingness to contribute to daily activities.  She started participating in cooking sessions, shopping, sports and art sessions.  Although, her behaviour was still highly challenging, it became more manageable for the staff.

Towards the end of her first year, the staff noticed a positive change in her behaviour. She began smiling a lot and appeared much happier.  She proved that she is able to learn appropriate behaviour and can be polite to other people.  She learned to apologize for her bad behaviour and her relationships with other students and the staff started to improve.

With all this improvement came - a greater acceptance of her daily routine and the structure of her day.  Soon Miss H expressed a willingness to join students in more activities, especially basic life skills workshops and community participation. She enjoyed music sessions, car washing, relaxing walks to the park, group games and trips to various places in Birmingham. The staff observed less severe behaviour, a better attitude towards other people and improved personal appearance.

There were times when her behaviour would deteriorate, but she would always manage to apologize and complete at least one piece of work per day. Previously, this was impossible as she would be restless and not interested in any activities.  Now she learns numeracy and literacy skills through participating in the community and she is more conscious and responds pleasantly to compliments.

She has made significant progress in terms of altering her behaviour and showing willingness to join other students in activities. She has participated in variety of life skills workshops, makes lovely jewellery, enjoys beauty sessions (which have had a positive impact on her appearance) and she works hard at communication, personal hygiene and cooking.

The last 6 months have seen - Miss H work hard at a college course delivered within Skills Tank twice a week.  She is much calmer and happier, despite her unpredictable behaviour; she is more manageable now and has less violent outbursts than three years ago.

Skills Tank staff are very proud - of her development and her hard work to achieve such positive results.  Skills Tank has really helped her and her family.  Her father has gone back to work and her mother is satisfied with her behaviour at home.  Together we all know she has the ability to continue to develop further.

A parent’s perspective – Miss H's family have been impressed with her progress since she started coming to the Skills Tank.  Miss H parents say “that since Miss H joined Skills Tank, they’ve noticed better behaviour, less agitation and less aggression”.

Her psychiatric behaviours at home have now reduced. Her father is now able to concentrate on his job and he recently travelled abroad for over a month, and the family had no major behavioural issues while he was away. Her mother is looking happier, and there has been a reduction Miss H’s medication intake.

They are happy that Miss H follows a structured timetable and positively responds to behavioural boundaries at Skills Tank.  She is able to make choices and can better express herself, especially if she doesn’t feel well or is not interested in an activity.

Please note: we change all names to protect the individual’s privacy.