Johnson is 19 and has suspected but undiagnosed learning difficulties. His mother Anne was supporting the family alone whilst facing financial challenges and living in inadequate, damp accommodation. The family had been socially isolated with no local friends or family, and Johnson had no communication with peers outside of lessons during the pandemic.
How has School-Home Support helped Johnson?
Johnson and Anne were referred to School-Home Support practitioner Amanda after a Safeguarding Alert was raised due to concerns around their finances and security at home. Anne expressed anxiety in discussions about money and Johnson was worried about his physical health and food. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that socialising has been much harder, and had left both Johnson and Anne feeling isolated.
Amanda has arranged for Anne to attend parent drop-in sessions at an inclusive community hub so that she could get to know other parents. Additionally, regular visits from Amanda presented both Anne and Johnson with opportunities to open up.
The School-Home Support Welfare Fund has been a crucial practical tool for the family. They have benefitted from a new cooker which has meant Anne has been able to cook more nutritious foods. The previous year, Anne lost her phone and could not afford to replace it, which meant that there for five months, the family was out of regular contact with support services as Anne was scared to open the door to a stranger. Amanda used the Welfare Fund to replace Anne’s lost phone to help her stay in contact with her support networks. Having a new phone has meant that Anne can now confidently reach out when they need support, and she has been able to contact relevant professionals herself.
Improving Johnson’s BMI
Johnson’s low BMI of 16 was under review at an eating disorder clinic. Working closely with Johnson, Amanda recognised that his eating habits were typical of someone with ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition) and he became visibly distressed at the nutritionist’s animal-based food recommendations. To improve his diet and relationship with food, Amanda collaborated with him to create a food poster of vegetarian suggestions to gain weight and vary his diet. Improvements have been seen by his community nurse already, and he is now willing to try new foods and discuss his diet.
With their home-life improving, Johnson had the capacity to focus on his post-16 education. Amanda made contact with City and Islington College so that Johnson could explore his options for the next year. Discussing his options ahead of time has reduced Johnson’s anxiety and enabled him to engage in conversations about the future, including his request to consider independent living in the near future – a huge personal achievement.
The family are working with support services to improve their daily living and engage with local networks. Johnson has improved his communication skills and has a better understanding of others’ personal space. Amanda also delivered a workshop on family spending and budgeting to reduce financial anxiety. Now, the family have better money management, talk to each other about finances and write out expenses each month. Their knowledge, skills and resilience have increased significantly thanks to Amanda’s work, and they are now more capable of dealing with anxiety and living more healthily.
‘Thank you for supporting me to get a new phone and for visiting us to see if we are ok. Johnson is able to speak with you too and we didn’t know how to ask for help with things because we don’t have any other family around.’ – Johnson’s Mum.