Staff at LVS Hassocks sensitively and expertly help students navigate this period of their lives through a collaborative approach which sees education, residential and therapy teams working together with local authorities and students’ families. This approach produces individualised and strength-based transition plans, giving students the chance to build and practice self-advocacy and communication skills and develop a range of independence skills.
Part of the process of handling the transition to adolescence at LVS Hassocks is for weekly residential students to move in to the Independent Living Area. For older students who are ready to take more responsibility for themselves and their living environment, it helps prepare them for life beyond the school. The strategy ensures they have the necessary skills to realise their potential and become confident, independent individuals at a time when they are becoming ready to take more control of their lives and demonstrate their responsibility.
Sam has made huge progress with developing his independence skills since moving to the ILA at LVS Hassocks. With support he has learned to cook meals for himself and the group, does his own laundry and cleaning and makes himself breakfast each morning. He is now learning to fold his clothes and keep them neat and tidy. Sam is incredibly proud of his achievements and staff have watched his skills, confidence and self-esteem grow – crucial areas of progress to help young people navigate adolescence successfully and embrace the changes it brings.
Marie Spence, LVS Hassocks’ Transitions Co-ordinator, said: “Our expertise in handling the transition to adolescence helps our students with autism take the changes in their stride and develop successfully. My advice would be to start thinking about transitions early, prepare for change and focus on a student’s strengths to build their confidence whilst accessing new environments so they can develop and learn new skills. Becoming more independent is a key aspect of adolescence and should be encouraged and developed.”