Pupil, Ben, age 17, on leaving Bright Futures School in July 2018, said: “I starting visiting school when I was nearly 10 years old, and officially became a pupil in May 2012. To me, it doesn’t feel all that long ago, however I’m sure some of you veterans feel differently! It’s honestly hard for me to think back to what I was like before coming here, regarding my mannerisms, knowledge about the world and self-confidence. However, that shouldn’t particularly matter now. One things for certain, I’ve changed a lot. And you’ve all played a part in making me who I am today, and for that let me offer my deepest thanks to the staff and pupils. Once I am settled at College, I’ll be sure to come and visit you all. You won’t get rid of me that easily!”
Pupil, Harry, age 14, said, ahead of meeting up out of school with two other pupils: “I’m really looking forward to going out with the boys tonight. Mum, remember when I didn’t have any friends?”
Pupil, Matthew, age 13, said: “I was excluded a lot at my other school. They didn’t understand my autism. I felt like I was being punished for being autistic – but I can’t help it. I’ve never been excluded at Bright Futures and for the first time, I feel happy at school, doing all my lessons and I have friends.”
Pupil, Marley, age 14, said: “Bright Futures helps me sort things out when I’m feeling low. It’s a really happy place and I love learning here. It’s joyful.”
Mum of a 14 year old pupil said: “His previous school plain and simply didn’t understand autism and thought he could be communicated with and taught in the ‘mainstream’ way. He was picked on by his peers, his mental health deteriorated to the point that our family life was in turmoil, his self-esteem was ground zero, he was in tears every morning begging not to go to school. He would bottle his feelings up at school then explode at home. He didn’t have a single friend in the world, and this temper would trigger seizures. The change in him has been astounding! He loves going to school at Bright Futures. He has made meaningful friendships, he’s no longer insular, his confidence has blossomed and I am so happy to say he’s been seizure-free in the two years since being at Bright Futures and is on his final months withdrawal of epilepsy medication, which his neurologist never dreamed there would be hope of.”
Dad of one of our younger pupils said: “I’ve seen your videos and your comments in the home/school communication book about S making a breakthrough and I can’t believe the difference in her. She is so different towards me, it is amazing. She never screams and is really happy all the time.”
Feedback from Love Lydgate following a recent visit to Bright Futures School
Four ladies from Love Lydgate (a local community group), came to visit on Monday 14th November 2016. They wrote to us to say…
‘Dear Zoe and Alison and everyone at Bright Futures. It was such a grey, dark, damp day yesterday but as we stepped through the doors of Bright Futures, our spirits lifted. We received such a warm welcome. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. It was a privilege to have a glimpse of what you all work so hard to achieve. There was such a positive atmosphere and the pupils were delightful….even though we pinched their usual seats and their techno time and attention!
We look forward to working with you in the future. Do keep us updated as we will with you. Thank you again. Jennifer and the Love Lydgate Team.’
Parental feedback from Harry’s Mum, November 2016
‘I’d just like to share something with you and the staff that Harry did tonight, because I’ve been absolutely blown away by his ability to read my emotions, through my use of non verbals, and the lovely words he used.
I was pretty tired tonight, after a hectic birthday weekend for his sister, and was generally feeling a bit jaded, and having a lie down, when Harry ca…me upstairs and said “hey mum are you ok”?, I used non verbals, just shrugged my shoulders and sighed, and was about to tell him how I was feeling, when he cuddled up to me and said “never mind mum, I’ll help you back onto the stage, switch those lights back on for you, and make you sparkle again”!!! Wow!!! he’s read my emotions, through the use of non verbals, and offered astounding words of comfort and encouragement too!!.
I told him how absolutely lovely his words were, and how much better he’d made me feel, and asked him if someone had taught him those words? He said “no, I just thought of them, but we have been learning about friendship at school” gosh!!! I’m truly amazed by his progress, thanks to such an amazing team at BF!’
Parental feedback re Tyler in advance of 2015 Review
Tyler is more relaxed at home. It’s not very often Tyler gets frustrated or angry about things he has a problem with. The quality of input is very good at BFS. He wants to go to school and rarely has a day off. (Speaks volumes)
From Julie Kennedy, Tyler’s mum (13/05/15)
Parental feedback re Belle in advance of 2015 Review
Belle is doing excellent. The quality of input at BFS is first class!
From Valerie Caudell, Belle’s mum (01/07/15)
Parental feedback re Philip in advance of 2015 Review
In the past year, we have seen an increase in personal confidence in Philip. He is more settled at school and he’s beginning to look forward to the future world of work and relationships. Staff at BFS work hard with Philip.
From Dixon Milburn, Philip’s dad (June 2015)
A lovely School Report! I am thrilled with Harry’s progress at Bright Futures School. Thank you to all the great staff!
From Clare Gibbins, Harry’s mum (22/06/16)
Hi Zoe, I’ve just watched the video, gosh, I’m feeling quite choked!! If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it possible! I’m looking at a young man doing all the right ‘things’ in all the right places, just like anyone else at his age! He would never have engaged in anything with me the way he has with you and I can see just what you are doing to achieve it! And where I’m going totally wrong. It’s given me so much hope for him and I know if I can get that RDI home program, it will turn our home life around!! This really gives me something to work on with Stephen!
From Clare Gibbins, Harry’s mum (11/01/16)
The two pieces of footage are like night and day. In the first clip, Lucy takes very little notice of anyone else in the room. She doesn’t join in and she is unmotivated/unable to take turns. She is very object-focused. She finds it more fun to play with the animals in her own way (like putting the horse on her head) in the second clip, she is so attuned to Jo and she is doing so many neurotypical things, like referencing, imitating and co-regulating. These clips are what I show my family when they ask about what RDI is. These clips are full of hope for other autism parents like me.
From Lauren Cullen, Saoirse’s mum (16/01/16): she left a new comment on post ‘Jo’s spontaneous guiding’ on Zoe’s Blog (in response to a blog post comparing footage of Lucy pre-RDI and after four months of guiding (RDI) at BFS.
We are really proud of the work that’s being done with her. David said (and I agreed) that last week was the best week of our lives. It has all been totally worth it. I think every parent would do this too, if they knew Bright Futures was out there.
From Lauren Cullen, Saoirse’s mum (16/06/16)
From Saoirse’s Communication Book
07/06/16 – Zoe said: Saoirse played with Jo and Zoe later on Krista joined us. We played with animals and the house, bubbles then floor jigsaw. Saoirse struggled in turn-taking when we set limits around not going out of turn but with scaffolding she was able to stay within our framework. We spotlighted her competence (helpfulness and kindness) when she took her turn. This was filmed. Lauren said: Saoirse was so calm after school, like I’ve never seen her before. I only anticipated a meltdown over not wanting school to be finished, and even that didn’t happen. When I waited outside for a bit before collecting Saoirse, I realised what a dramatic change this has been. I went from waiting anxiously to receive her in various states of duress (and wondering what was being done with her) to having complete confidence in the staff at Bright Futures. This is what we came for! (The family has re-located from Ireland so Saoirse can attend BFS).
June 2016 – Krista said: Saoirse hummed her own little song and we tidied up and washed our hands. We then played with the shapes and took turns to put them back in the box in the correct shape hole. Saoirse then began to hum and sing her own shape song. Lucy joined us and the girls played nicely together with the animals.
14/06/16 – Lauren said: We had a good day on Sunday (12/06/16) and Saoirse has been very calm and self-regulated. We visited an indoor play centre right before they decided they were closing early. We hadn’t bought admission yet and Saoirse and Dinny were peering over the child gate excitedly. I told Saoirse that we had gone to the wrong ‘Fun Factory’ (as she calls them), that it was closing soon and that we would find a different/new Fun Factory. She took my hand and we calmly walked to the car. This would have NEVER happened before! She would have melted down from the unexpected change. She handled it even better than Dinny (who whined all the way to the next one)!!
Lauren said: Saoirse has also been more engaging at home. She is social referencing more and is more aware of things that are happening. One example was when I held her hands and joined her in jumping on my bed. She looked all the way up my face (as we were both jumping). We then laughed together in what felt like emotional sharing. In the past, she wouldn’t have connected with me like this. She would just enjoy it on her own, ignoring me. Another example, was when David (Daddy) was excited to see her coloured pigs picture from school. He had just come in at the airport and he said ‘Well done Saoirse!’ She was very happy and social referenced him.
Lucy’s first school report is a joy to read and just wonderful. This last year has been a giant leap forward for Lucy, can’t wait for next year!
From Rachel Eyres, Lucy’s mum (27/06/16)