One of our learners was the star of the show at the Lindfield Arts Festival near Haywards Heath on Saturday 17th September when his artwork was exhibited for visitors to enjoy.
12-year-old Elliot received many positive comments from fellow artists and even sold one of his pieces. This followed a commission a few months ago which Elliot fulfilled and is now hanging in a personal collection in Manchester, and exposure on the Artists and Autism Facebook page last year which resulted in nearly 600 likes.
A combination of discovering a love of art – Elliot has been going to sensory art group Time Aside for over a year – and joining LVS Hassocks, where a personal development plan has helped him manage his autism, have helped turn Elliot’s life around. Having not attended school for almost three-and-a-half years due to the environment at mainstream schools resulting in challenging behaviour and a refusal to engage in any learning, Elliot joined LVS Hassocks a year ago.
To ensure a successful introduction to school, LVS Hassocks managed a gradual transition at a pace to suit Elliot, starting with home visits for an hour every day by the school’s therapy team and gradually increasing in length. These were followed by short trips to school to ensure visits were associated with positive experiences and build a relationship with his dedicated 1-to-1 staff member.
Elliot’s mother Emma said: “We have watched Elliot’s confidence and trust in school staff grow, which has reduced his anxiety and he is now re-engaging with learning – attending four days a week and making use of the other outlets the school provides to encourage interaction such as music, gardening and fishing. As a family we are reaping the benefits of Elliot being happy at school. He is much calmer, challenging behaviour rarely appears and he is now much more independent. He expresses himself through his art now and really enjoyed talking to artists and visitors about his work at the Lindfield Arts Festival, it was excellent for his confidence”.
Elliot has already excelled in other areas at LVS Hassocks, winning the Bake Off contest at Easter Sharing.
Head of Centre Kira Brabenec said: “We are very proud of Elliot. For his artwork to be exhibited – and selling – at just 12-years-old is amazing. Considering where he was just a year ago, his progress has been superb and is a great example of the way the school works with learners individually to ensure they develop socially and emotionally whilst increasing their ability to become more independent”.