Josie Woodhead (21) who lives in Doncaster and has Down Syndrome and is hearing impaired, is a student at Communication Specialist College Doncaster. In our latest parent voice blog, Kev, Josie’s dad, explains how the support she receives has brought a smile back to Josie’s face. 

At her previous college they weren’t meeting Josie’s needs. She was bored and would come home every day in tears. We were basically forcing her to go and seeing her come home in tears every day was very difficult. But that’s the past.

We started to look at other colleges and Communication Specialist College Doncaster was hands down the best option because of the facilities they’ve got and the wonderful teachers. I work as maintenance and facilities manager at Doncaster Deaf Trust, so I see what we do on a daily basis. It was a no-brainer for me to get her to the college.

Josie has been at the college for two years now and she loves it. Since attending the college she is a different child altogether. She’s gone 180 degrees and returned to being her happy self. She just cannot wait to get there. Josie has gone from crying and not wanting to go to college to now being upset when she can’t go! When we’re on holiday she’s counting down the days till she can go back and asking us ‘how many more days before college?’ It’s a massive change.

Josie has speech therapy, educational support to move on to employment and daily living skills. We hope she can learn some independent living skills and move on to some kind of employment. She likes everything but her favourite is doing something work-related, like working in the café and the Enterprise Shop.

Since Josie has been going to the college, there’s less pressure on us and I feel so much more confident about her future. She talks about wanting to go out and get a job and be employed and that would be wonderful for her and for us to see.

Josie is a changed person since she started at the college. She’s turned around completely from being withdrawn and miserable to wanting to go to college and being a totally different child. Being at the college has definitely helped her turn a corner.