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June 28th 2004

Richards Great Success

On the evening of 28th June 2004 Simon, Michael and I attended the Prize Giving Evening for Richard who has just finished his 2nd and final year for his Vocational Access Course at Thanet College. He has done so fantastically well over the past 2 years since starting at college he has become more mature and has actually been away from home twice on residential trips where he has overcome a number of fears such as height where on one of the Residential trips he actually took part in wall climbing and abseiling and although he did not actually abseil down the tower he did manage to climb up to the top which is a fantastic achievement for him.

This year he went on a Residential Trip to France where he was commended for being a great help to staff especially on the night when some of the tents started to blow away - the real rotten thing of the week was that after all the weeks of great weather the week they went on the trip was the one week in May when it rained continuously all day and night and there were gales and every sort of nasty weather we could imagine that they had to come home a day early and Richard it appears dealt with this really well and helped to get everything packed up quickly and even helped the others who got a bit upset at the fact they were having to come home early. As Richard has never been away from home before we were really proud at how well he coped on both of these trips - in particular the one to France being so far away from home.

Anyway at the Prize giving evening nearly all the parents of the young people in VAC 2 were there to support all of them as they all have Special Needs so it was good to see a great turn out to support them.

The evening started with Debbie Wilson, the VAC leader giving an introduction to what had been going on over the past year. She then handed over to Jo Campbell who is the Head of the Special Needs Department for Thanet College to present the Certificates to all of the young people.

When it came to Richards name being called we were so proud of him, Jo said some great things about Richard as she presented him with a whole stack of Certificates:

"Richard has been a role model student. He came from a small school (4 kids) and has worked exceptionally hard in developing appropriate social skills. Richard has always completed work tasks that were asked of him, he has followed instructions and was the team leader of the best team during the external assignment in December.

Richard has attended both of the residential and fully participated in the programmes, again demonstrating personal progress and appropriate use of communication skills at all times.

Due to his commitment and hard work on the course Richard has achieved Adult Literacy and Numeracy at Entry 3 and 10 units in Skills for Working Life, including a full certificate in Catering.

Richard has also been awarded Certificates in being one of the first to complete I.T assessments and Making valuable contributions to the work placement.

Richard will be moving onto PC Maintenance next year and we wish him every success.

Well done Richard"

As I said wow boy were we proud parents I felt as if I was about to explode with pride of my young man and being honest it really brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes, I know what a great big softie!!

Before the evening came to a close Debbie Wilson, the course leader, said that this was her first full course as official course leader. She said that we all knew about one special student who she had worked with for 4 years. Until last August when he was tragically killed in a house fire for which 2 people were convicted - one for murder and one for man slaughter. Our Richard was devastated as this young man was his good friend. Anyway Debbie went on to say that she had been very fond of David and she wanted to do something to have a lasting memory for him. So she was starting the David Slater Award for the most outstanding student for the year - the one who had made the most in their learning - their life skills and their own personal development.

She spoke about the young person who she had chosen to receive the first award.

This person had moved on so well throughout the last 2 years and had improved in his personal development, his social, learning, and communication skills and that this person had been an absolute Star. She said that this young person always seemed to instinctively know how others were feeling. Also that on the day when the external verifiers had come to do the first full assessment of her work as the first 2 full years of her as leader of the course. They were verifying her as the main tutor as well as the students work. On the morning just before the external verifiers arrived this student had phoned her and left a message on her answer phone to wish her luck. In her opinion this student had great awareness of others and how they were feeling which she said was an amazing credit to this particular student.

Then she said that the first annual David Slater Award goes to Richard Hensby.

Well I am afraid this was just the icing on the cake for us, we were just so proud of our young man - more lumps in the throat and tears in the eyes, we just felt so proud and so pleased for Richard after all the years at school where he had so many problems and found it such a difficult time in general to have come on so much in these 2 years really goes to show how much our children with ADD/ADHD can do when they are given the support and encouragement they deserve. We all know that our children have so many special qualities which are so often over looked by people who tend to focus so much on the negative points but this proves that with the correct support, encouragement and teaching that our young people have so much to offer.



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