At Phoenix House we take immense pride in our residential programme, where students experience a nurturing and conducive environment to excel in both life skills and personally. This case study highlights the journey and achievements of a student within residential, showcasing the immense benefits that a residential program can offer to students.
Konrad was born in Poland and when he was 9 months old he had meningitis which resulted in him becoming profoundly Deaf. Konrad had a cochlear implant fitted when he was 2 years old, however, it was later discovered that the cochlear implant wasn’t working and therefore was capable of only very limited communication, including gestures, babble and facial expressions. After moving to England at the age of 8 his cochlear was reconnected which started the process of improving his communication. Around this time, he was diagnosed with severe speech and language delay, learning disability and delayed echolalia. Following this in 2016 he was also diagnosed with ADHD.
When Konrad started at Oak Lodge school and boarding full-time in Residential in 2016 he struggled a lot and his delayed language skills had a big impact on his interactions with others and his ability to form friendships. Konrad would become agitated quickly and would at times respond in a physical way, being unable to regulate his own emotions. Konrad also had no awareness of stranger danger and needed constant supervision with 1:1 staffing when going out including crossing roads.
During his early months at Oak Lodge School Konrad was referred to Deaf CAMHS based at the nearby Springfield Hospital, and was given medication for ADHD in 2016 but following a medical recommendation in 2019 he was taken off it completely.
Upon joining Residential in 2016, Konrad found an encouraging and supportive community that helped him flourish into a positive role-model and is currently one of the ‘senior’ students in Residential. The structured environment, round-the-clock staff and support, a dedicated key worker and team played a crucial role in his transformation. As staff started to build a rapport with Konrad they realised the best way to work with him. Noticing that routine and preparation was key for him and to communicate this in a number of ways including visual aids and resources to support his understanding.
In 2018 Konrad received an award for most improved student in Residential that academic year and the following year he was awarded for his positive behaviour.
Through the school and residential Konrad was also given support from Deaf CAMHS and Remark! Having good working relationship with these organisations means we can support our students in a collaborative way.
While at residential Konrad is involved in a Life Skills programme which covers self-care and social skills, exploring Deaf identity, cooking and health skills, transport and interacting with the wider community and finally Life Skills that will prepare them for when they leave our residential.
Now reaching the end of 2023 staff have noticed a significant improvement with Konrad. As Konrad approaches his 19th birthday this will be his final year in Oak Lodge School, and he will then embark his journey into the real world. Staff have noted that he is a lot more capable of regulating his emotions and is able to identity their emotions using the colours of emotions (a system used by the school and residential). Konrad has also completed his travel training around the local area which means he can go to the shops/ for a walk and to the gym independently, and is also fully independent in their personal care.
The success story of this student is just one example of the transformative power of our residential programme. It showcases how an investment in boarding facilities can immensely benefit students, not just academically but holistically. With continued support, more students can achieve their full potential and contribute positively to their communities and beyond.