Riley’s parents always knew that there was something different about Riley, but it was at the age of 8 that they were able to find out some answers! Riley had regular big outbursts with simple little things, and the family was not sure how to support him best.
“We struggled with Riley’s behaviour and his outbursts. We didn’t know why or what things were going to cause a meltdown and we ran out of ideas on how to calm him down”. Riley’s Mum
Riley had a very rigid diet and he was extremely reluctant to try new foods. At school, Riley found it difficult to follow instructions out of his normal routine and his teacher had to break down tasks into small steps. Maria was able to support Riley and his family’s relationship with school. Riley was keen to complete a visual emotional scale which helped him to recognise when he is starting to feel angry and he now knows what to do – to walk to his special calm place where he is able to calm down with his soft favourite blanket.
“Maria suggested different ways to help Riley recognise his feelings and how to cope with them. Maria also gave us new ways to encourage him to try and eat new textures and tastes. She also helped with toileting issues. Maria visited us every two weeks and we felt well supported. Riley looked forward to her visits”. Riley’s Mum
After Riley was diagnosed as having Autism the family was not sure how to tell him and how that would impact on his self-esteem. Maria was able to provide children’s books and found a good video that helped Riley understand what Autism is.
At the 1:1 sessions with Maria; Riley completed an “All About Me” book:
“My name is Riley. I am good at maths and drawing.
The reason I have visual cards is because I need help understanding stuff
I have autism. This means I see the world in my own way and do my own things. This also means, I find easy activities quite hard and hard activities quite easy! This makes me special and unique.”
Red Hen was able to link with school, with the speech & language therapist and other professionals to ensure that everyone was offering a consistent and effective approach with Riley. The Red Hen Project was able to signpost to other relevant groups, grants and benefits that the family was able to access.
“Maria has helped support me and my son incredibly – she has put into place a variety of activities for Riley regarding his emotional and social needs with lots of visuals and other ideas that I hadn’t thought of. We have really enjoyed the ‘All about me’ book that she has done with Riley – explaining his needs/likes, etc. – and all the help/support given to us as parents through his ASD diagnosis.”
“We are now due to enrol in ASD Cygnet course. We have been to a couple of drop in sessions for parents of children with ASD which we found useful. The Red Hen workers are fantastic. Maria has honestly helped us throughout the whole process of Riley’s diagnosis and has made a great difference in Riley’s and in our family’s life.” Riley’s Mum
Riley’s Mum explains that after The Red Hen Support their life is a lot ‘calmer’ – “Riley still has sensory meltdowns but he uses his emotional scale to retreat”.