The positive effect of an enabling learning environment on our children
Every parent wants their child to live in a community that helps them flourish. Finding one that fits the bill can be difficult, but for the parent of a disabled young person, it can be much harder. Brian James talks to us about his son, Jonathan, and how Livability’s Nash College meets these needs.
How did you discover Nash College?
Disability, and the services provided for disabled people, has been an interest of mine all my adult life. But it has also become a family requirement because of my son Jonathan’s complex needs. We were offered the opportunity to find out how Nash could educate and support Jonathan.
Once we’d looked at what they had to offer, he jumped at the chance to apply for a three-year programme. He is now a third-year student and anticipating a fourth year, as his ability to communicate more effectively goes from strength to strength.
What is so special about Nash?
Nash is a further education college that offers a ‘livable’ community for students with complex or exceptional learning and care needs. This means that Jonathan is offered skilled and effective support, minimising some of the barriers that his complex needs may raise.
Their tailored programme of studies offers an enabling learning environment. Jonathan has an increased awareness of, and access to, a range of benefits on offer in the community.
How has Jonathan grown while he has been at Nash?[x_blockquote cite=”Brian James” type=”left”]”Jonathan’s confidence has blossomed, due in no small part to the staff’s incredible flexibility and ingenuity.”[/x_blockquote]
Jonathan has his own iPad, and also ‘Eyegaze’, an innovative, eye-operated technology that allows him to explore more effective means of communication. These have had an enormous impact on opening up his world and making him more independent. The staff at Nash are an integral part of Jonathan’s life – they even helped us celebrate his baptism and 21st birthday.
Nash College has allowed Jonathan to learn as an adult – which he is – and has supported us to explore further opportunities for adults with complex needs. While Jonathan has been here, the staff’s commitment and expertise have benefitted the whole family. We are now looking forward to supporting our son beyond his time at college.
Brian James is the father of two sons, Jonathan and his older brother, James. Together with his wife, Julie, he has fostered and supported children and adults with complex needs for 25 years. Brian currently works in the charity sector, supporting care homes and hostel managers. He is a trustee of several charities, including Livability, and is a Governor at Livability’s Nash College.