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Finding the right therapeutic support - Ryan’s story

Neglect and developmental trauma  

Ryan* is a 10-year-old boy who experienced severe neglect and developmental trauma throughout his childhood. His mum was his sole carer and struggled with alcohol addiction. As a result, she couldn't continue to care for Ryan and his two siblings.   

Required high levels of support  

Ryan is now on a Section 20 Care Order and has lived at our home since June 2021. When he first came to us, he had extreme developmental and relational trauma – including insecure/avoidant attachment, PICA behaviours (eating objects that aren't food), bed wetting, and he refused to eat any form of solid food.  

He’d been diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and his speech and communication were limited. Ryan required high levels of support with eating, communication, going to the toilet, sleep, and self-care. 

Professional interventions 

Our team formed a really strong bond with Ryan from the beginning. We helped him engage in activities like swimming, trampolining, park visits, and bike rides. 

And after careful assessment we provided a number of therapeutic interventions including a dietician, a speech and language therapist and a child psychotherapist. They supported Ryan with lots of strategies and information to help improve his sensory needs, diet, communication, and emotion regulation. 

A new chapter at school 

Since joining us, Ryan has started going to school. He'd never been to school before we met him, but he now enjoys his time there and attends every day.  

His therapist has reported positive developments with his trust and engagement in the sessions, and his self-confidence has greatly improved, too. 

“With all this input, the team around Ryan now witness vastly improved social functioning and communication. Ryan is now a happy and outgoing child who demonstrates a willingness to connect to other children and the adults around him with self-confidence and trust. He enjoys school and riding his new bike. He also loves swimming and trampolining.” 

A quote from Ryan’s therapist 
Making progress 

We continue to support Ryan with his emotional regulation and communication skills. We try to ease his daily frustrations using a PACE (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy) approach. 

Routine and boundaries are really important for Ryan, so school holidays can be tricky for him. As a result, we make sure he focuses on being active by exercising, and we limit his screen time so that he gets plenty of quality sleep. 

In the future, we hope that Ryan will continue to understand and share his emotions with us and find more positive ways to process and improve his social functioning. 

*We have changed the name to protect the young person’s identity. 

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