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Past Project: Transitions

A boy using a piece of electronic equipment at a darts music workshop in Doncaster.

Through our All Aboard project, children and young people, their family members and teachers highlighted a need for high quality ‘real life’ opportunities to support the transition into adulthood. They told us:

“Being able to spend time away from my family and make my own choices is a key life skill.”
“I would like to be more involved in my community through making decisions about how to spend free time and take part in activities with my friends.”
“I would like to help in a shop in my local community.”

Doncaster’s children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) experience multiple barriers to engagement: the disability itself, levels of communication, others’ perceptions and low confidence as well as limited finances to pay for extra-curricular activity.

Young people attending special schools have a disability, but they do not want to be treated differently – they want to feel happy, confident and safe in all sorts of places with all sorts of people. Confidence does not happen in one place, there is not a magic switch that suddenly is turned on and ‘you are confident’. It is a process of trying something out of your comfort zone, succeeding and moving on. It is getting a knock back and moving on. It is your recovery rate and your ability to use a big bag of skills to know how to handle what comes your way. It is about helping others and feeling valued. Finding what you enjoy and doing it as often as possible.

Our Transitions project enabled young people on the cusp of adulthood to test out new situations in a safe and supported way. They gained essential life skills such as making decisions, having their own voice, saying ‘no’ when they need to and developing strategies to manage everyday barriers. This increased young people’s independence, resilience, perseverance and persistence, as well as improving their ability to listen to and respect others empathetically.

Drama practitioners developed the project over time, using a consistent approach of support, positive validation, practice and celebration to ensure success. Young people gained the tools to make healthy choices as they move into young adulthood.

Although this was a relatively short project, the impacts were significant. One young person who has speech and communication difficulties, for example, engaged in DJ sessions and drama workshops as well as being part of the team that planned darts’ annual #PointFEST festival. His confidence grew so much that he both DJ’d independently as an artist at the festival and took to the stage and sang in front of a large crowd of people with real confidence.

arts and health   case study

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