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Case studies

Case Study 1 - Sally’s story 

Sally* is 16 years old. She has a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD and Dyslexia. She has a low academic ability and has not achieved her GCSEs so is currently at a special education unit working towards functional skills L1 and workskills. Sally displays high risk behaviours which includes self-harm. She has an EHCP and is currently homeless due to a breakdown in her foster placement due to risk behaviours.

Sally has poor social and communication skills and lacks motivation. She has a short attention span and becomes incredibly hyperactive after lunch due to changes in medication.

Strategies to support learning

To support Sally's learning, staff at Southampton Hospital School have worked on gradually building up tasks to increase confidence in ability. Staff also use 'fidgets' and have adapted SEAL/Speak freely techniques to improve social interaction. Sally is provided with 1:1 support in sessions as per her EHCP.

To alleviate hyperactivity, nursing staff offer a ground walk session each day and provide a shortened symbol timetable to allow for engagement. Dyslexia screening is also used to determine colour overlay.

Identifying needs

Sally has been identified as having severe dyslexia in all areas and needs a coloured overlay of ‘celery’. Functional skills assessments in English and maths have also determined the education level Sally needs to work towards. Sally has completed paper based tasks with 1:1 support.

Due to poor engagement in home schooling, Sally was provided with a mini enterprise project of a bake sale each week. She has been attending baking on a weekly basis. This has been very successful and is now making profit. All profits made will be sent to the charity Mind.

Positive outcomes

When Sally first arrived at the unit, staff completed the CAMHS profile grid to identify areas of need. On admission, Sally scored a total 22/48. Areas that Sally scored low in were for her communication with peers, concentration and hope for the future. During her admission her score increased each week and hit a high peak of 33/48. This has dropped over the last two weeks since having had a CPA and currently stands at 27; however is still higher than on first admission.

On admission Sally’s attendance was very poor. When she did attend she would only stay for no longer than 30 minutes at a time. This has improved greatly and she now attends education regularly and has an average attendance of 99.02%

Sally’s attendance  was poor to begin with, due to high levels of anxiety. After a couple of weeks, Sally  would attend sessions but for very short periods of time as she would begin to become anxious and would need to leave the room. Following a discussion with MDT, it was decided that when this occurred, Sally would be returned to the ward for a ‘beanbag squish’ and would then be brought back to the classroom by nursing staff to continue the sessions. This proved successful and her attendance and engagement improved.

Case Study 2 – Tony’s story

Tony is a 16 year old pupil at Harrow school. He is a very high achiever and is expected to achieve A* in his exams. Tony was admitted due to a suicide attempt, severe depression and auditory.

Tony lacks confidence and fears failure due to the high expectations that have been placed on him. He would like to go to Cambridge University.

To overcome Tony’s barriers to learning, staff regularly raise him and offer 1:1 support where needed. They also provide revision guidance on a regular basis.

Positive outcomes

Before coming to Southampton Hospital School, Tony’s attendance at school/college was 85%. Since being admitted to the unit, this has now increased to 100%.

The impact from the interventions has enabled Tony to complete his GCSE’s at the unit. He has achieved three A*s, two As and two Bs.

When Tony first arrived at the unit, staff completed the CAMHS profile grid to identify areas of need. On admission, he scored a total 22/48. Areas that Tony scored low in were communication with peers and adults. During admission his score increased each week and is now recorded at 27/48. He has identified that his communication with adults has vastly increased.

Tony now engages in revision tasks really well. He also engages in all group and taught sessions to include PSHEE. He is very forthcoming with his points of views and makes relevant points in discussions.

Tony has achieved a lot during his time at Southampton Hospital School and is now able to return to school to attend sixth form when he is discharged. His results are as follows:















Computer science



Design and Technology



English Literature