Richard*, aged 9 is a very likeable and affectionate young man. He has Down’s Syndrome and learning disability. He loves cuddles from his carers. He is, for the most part, a happy and smiling young boy with an infectious, cheeky giggle.
Richard enjoys a number of different activities and has a love of books. He will look very closely at the pictures. He enjoys sharing stories. He can use symbols to answer questions about who is in the story and is working on answering questions about what is happening. At school, he has recently taken up riding a trike and enjoys being in the playground. He likes singing, and action songs are a favourite.
In his foster care placement Richard enjoys numerous activities, he particularly enjoys when he can “lead” and explore freely. He likes going on long walks or to places like the Secret Herb Garden or Craigies Farm. He has been going swimming regularly since being placed with his foster carers and is developing more confidence in the water, enjoying putting his head right under in particular! He also enjoys physical activities such as the trampoline or soft play.
Since starting his foster care placement, there has been a marked increase in Richard’s vocabulary and his desire to communicate via speech, sign and using symbols. He is also demonstrating an ability to not only communicate his needs and wants, but moving on to more complex communication such as making observations or showing concern when someone is upset.
Richard is very sensitive to conflict and can become distressed when there is disagreement or if other children in school are displaying challenging behaviour. Raised voices, even when quite happy, can cause him to retreat to his bedroom which he considers a safe space. Richard requires a lot of reassurance to settle after a difficult time and this includes lots of physical comfort.
Richard can become frustrated when people don’t know what he is trying to communicate or if he cannot do something he wants to. He requires clear boundaries and a consistent approach. He benefits from playful encouragement and responds to this well.
Richard is well liked by staff and classmates alike at school and likes to “high five” on the way out!
*Real names have been changed to protect confidentiality.