REACH: Instilling Independence and Confidence – Case Study

February 7, 2019 by Alison Watson-Shields

REACH recently worked with a young lady who, upon completing her education at Abbey Hill School, wanted to enrol in a mainstream college so that she could pursue her dreams of working with children.

Chloe’s mother expressed concerns about her travelling independently to and from Middlesbrough college. Following a discussion with Chloe, we found that her experience of independent travel consisted solely of travelling to and from Abbey Hill School.

Our discussion explored ways that we could support Chloe to develop her independence skills she needed in order to attend Middlesbrough college. Over the following weeks, we evaluated her progress, highlighted any issues that Chloe was experiencing (highlighted by both Chloe and her mum) and ways to overcomes these concerns in a proactive manner. We spoke about the importance of communication while out and about, making sure that her mother was informed of her whereabouts and also of any travel delays that she encountered. 

Chloe began attending a local youth club regularly and grew in confidence in her own abilities that in early September we visited Middlesbrough College together to view the campus and meet the people who would be important during her studies, such as tutors and peers.


Chloe and her mother had expressed their apprehension with regards to visiting the college, while Chloe also expressed concerns about maintaining progress with a rigorous academic schedule, but believed from a practical standpoint that she would be more than able to keep up with her peers. She also worried that her disability could be a barrier to education, but attended a meeting with the Learning Support Team at Middlesbrough College to discuss her concerns.

Our visit to the college went extremely well. Staff happily gave a tour of the facilities, including the Learning Support Base, and discussed the resources available to students at the the college, including a Learning Support Assistant who would be able to assist with written work. Chloe would also benefit from use of the ‘Reflection and Study Area’ to allow for quiet time if needed. Staff also agreed to obtain information from Abbey Hill to provide a seamless transition.

Both Chloe and her Mum have expressed their gratitude for the help they received from REACH; “Thanks for the help Chloe has received, I see no reason why she shouldn’t succeed and thoroughly enjoy her college experience.”

REACH have enjoyed working closely with Chloe and her Mum, and wish Chloe much success in her future.

Written by Liam Twizell, REACH Advocate

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