15 year old Rhydian began his placement at Amelia Trust Farm as he had been permanently excluded from school for aggressive and violent behaviour. A tailor-made package was created for Rhydian as part of an alternative curriculum since he had a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome which is similar to autism but young people tend to be higher functioning in comparison. His condition caused Rhydian to have delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialise with others, clearly communicate his feelings and use imagination.

Rhydian was initially apprehensive of the working environment at the Farm and tested the boundaries which resulted in staff having to manage a number of physically aggressive confrontations. Rhydian openly stated that

“apparently I am difficult to teach”

but he was unable to identify why. With time Rhydian engaged in his personal development sessions and began to put trust into the staff.

For the first time underlying issues regarding his childhood and his level of understanding regarding his condition came to the surface. The nurturing environment at the Farm helped Rhydian to feel safe but more importantly it helped him to understand that he was respected and that he was not the only young person who was going through a difficult time.

Rhydian was given the opportunity to extend his time at the Farm as long as he was able to accept the challenge of becoming a youth mentor for a group of students who were having difficulties with their behaviour.  This pushed Rhydian to his limits and challenged him to analyse his own behaviour. His loyalty to the Farm got him through this experience and even though he found it extremely difficult it helped him to take an important step in his development. 

Rhydian said a sad farewell to all at the Farm and successfully enrolled at a local agricultural college and is doing extremely well.

Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism - that's more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of 2.8 million people every day.  While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives. 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on. 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them. 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools.

Source: Autism.org.uk.