Story added: 24th August 2023
Twelve-year-old Tommy joined the Realising Potential programme in September 2022. Tommy is autistic and had always struggled with his confidence when it came to engaging in extra-curricular activities and meeting new people.
Hayley, his mother, reached out to the programme wanting to know a little bit more about how it caters for children with autism and additional needs. When she decided the programme would be a good fit for Tommy, she brought him along to a session.
To begin with, he was nervous and needed his older brother to stay by his side during the session – which occurred for the first two weeks. However, Tommy very quickly came out of his shell once he felt comfortable enough and no longer needed his brother to be by his side. He was engaging with other participants on the programme and making jokes with staff, soon becoming a well-liked character amongst the group.
Hayley, who had clearly seen the progress of her son, reached out to our Realising Potential Officer, Ellie Dickinson, saying:
“I just wanted to say that Tommy is loving these sessions. This is the first thing he’s done regularly on his own. He is very excited to come every week.”
Tommy is now a big personality in the cohort. He puts all his efforts into giving the activities a go when he’s at Realising Potential. He’s very enthusiastic and has found a love for football, table tennis and pool. As a result of this, Tommy has moved into other Foundation provisions such as the pan-disability soccer skill centres and holiday camps.
The difference in his social development has been huge, and it’s been brilliant to watch him grow into a more confident individual. Even when Tommy hasn’t felt his best self at sessions and his social battery was quite low, the programme still provides a safe space and support for him.
As well as the development in Tommy’s independence and social skills, the family now engage in all that the Foundation and Realising Potential has to offer. This includes putting a team forward for our Realising Potential Quiz Night, that Senior participants have organised.