Skip to content ↓

Schools Part of Esland Group


Life in our solo homes - Michael's story

In and out of care placements 

Michael* was 14 years old when he came to stay with us. He’d recently been in several short-term placements following the breakdown of his long-term placement with a foster carer. 

When Michael was referred to us, he was diagnosed with Global Learning Delay, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and Tourettes in the form of verbal and physical tics. He wasn’t officially diagnosed with autism; however, a psychological report did show that he had autistic traits. 

Destructive behaviour  

When Michael first started living with us, he caused significant property damage, destroying all the furniture in his bedroom and removing the plumbing fittings from the bathroom. 

He was physically and verbally aggressive and would use broken furniture as weapons.  

He’d also hurl abuse at people in the local community and throw stones at cars, houses, and wildlife.  

Turning point  

We organised a multi-disciplinary meeting to look at how we could best support Michael’s behaviour. 

From there, we adapted his home to better meet his needs. We held weekly meetings with his social worker, and we continued to do everything we could to make Michael’s placement work, so that he could feel more confident and secure in his surroundings. 

This included increasing the staff ratio to 3:1 and revising Michael’s routines. We used our PACE (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy) therapeutic care model to understand his complex needs and better identify links between triggers, emotions, and behaviours. 

We used visual Now, Next, and Then aids to help Michael structure his day and set boundaries to give him clear expectations, achievable rewards, and consistent consequences.  

We also put together a reflective journal for him so that he could talk about the positive and negative aspects of his day and receive praise and goals. 

Positive response  

The difference in Michael’s behaviour since making these changes has been immense. His verbal and physical aggression has significantly reduced, so we’ve cut the staff ratio to 2:1. He’s no longer causing damage to the home, and he now has settled routines. 

He’s attending full-time education, maintaining positive contact with his sister, and has enjoyed holidays and trips to places like Butlins and Legoland. 

He’s even showing and seeking affection from staff, which seemed unimaginable when he first joined us. 

As Michael’s behaviour has improved so much and our solo homes are big enough to accommodate two, we agreed to introduce more socialisation into his routine with his social worker.  

So, after a very careful matching process and cautious introductions, Michael now has another young person to share his home and his journey into adulthood with.  

Michael’s biggest dream is to one day become a farmer, and we hope that with the care, education, and therapeutic support we’ve given him, he’ll one day be able to make that dream a reality.   

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

Make a referral