Parent voice: Providing the framework for students to thrive

Theo Martin (16) who is autistic, is a student at Communication Specialist College Doncaster. Here in our parent voice blog, Kerry Martin, Theo’s mum, explains how much of a positive impact the college has had on Theo and his brother Roni (18) who is also a student here. 

Communication Specialist College Doncaster (CSCD) is head and shoulders above other specialist provisions in the area.  Theo is in his first year doing sports while Roni who is autistic and has some moderate learning difficulties, has been there for a year and is doing horticulture. 

Both Roni and Theo study IT too and as all jobs have some elements of IT to them it helps them on a really practical level. Neither of them are 100% sure about what they want to do for a job at this stage, so college have given them different choices of courses to try.  College staff will change the student’s personal timetables if they are not enjoying the course and they are able to try new things.  It has been perfect for the boys who might not know if they like something until they actually try it. There is so much choice regarding courses and the support for the students is amazing. 

While at the college, Theo and Roni’s confidence has gone from strength to strength. Theo has previously been very nervous of new experiences and people, but after a few short months at CSCD he is confident to approach members of staff and other students - which speaks volumes.

I can fully see where a lot of parents get bamboozled and intimidated when they are trying to find the best place that suits their child. Communication Specialist College Doncaster was arguably the best place for Roni and Theo.  Do your research and visit different provisions and be guided by the staff. But essentially you do know your young person best so trust your instincts and stand your ground! I have been a school governor for several years and it is still difficult to put your point of view across regarding what is best for your child in a room full of professionals.

We are so lucky that Roni and Theo got their places at Communication Specialist College Doncaster.  It is a jewel in the crown of Doncaster - it is an amazing provision. The college has been really supportive, and I can say that attending has definitely changed the boys’ lives.  It has had a knock-on effect for our whole family as we see the boys enjoying their days and progressing academically.  We feel so much more comfortable and confident about the boys moving on to the next stages in their lives.