Therapeutic Work Experience

A young lady on the #Focus5 programme has made huge progress with her social anxiety and employability skills, thanks to some therapeutic work experience!

Jade is autistic and struggles with anxiety and social communication. #Focus5 have been working with her to help build confidence and communication skills so that she can take steps towards a brighter future.

Her key worker Jane sourced work experience at a local stables where she now attends for a full afternoon every week. She really enjoys the interaction with the animals and has made friendships with two of the staff. This may seem like a small step on the way to education or employment for Jade but when you break it down, she has been learning all of the #Focus5 skills without realising it, through an activity she's passionate about.

There's a lot to be said for animal therapy when you find socialising in the human world so difficult. It can relax young people's minds, increase socialisation behaviours and reduce anxiety, and there are physical benefits too. For an autistic person riding a horse increases balance, relaxes muscles, and improves hand/eye coordination. Often, children with autism will socially and communicatively interact with animals more than they would another human being.

Jade has not only built confidence in communicating, she has also learnt to trust the people around her, to care for the animals, to be organised in her tasks and take direction from adults, to solve problems and most of all to become part of a hard working team.

She has attended regularly and is likely to continue once her involvement with #Focus5 comes to an end. She has subsequently engaged with Young Devon, the largest young people's charity in the South West, for further skills mentoring and she is really progressing with her confidence in social situations. 

Jade is just one of many young people taking positive steps towards education, employment and training with #Focus5.

#Communication #Teamwork #Organisation #Problem Solving #Customer Service