Experience stories


Jake (21) lives in a shared house with three other people with intellectual disabilities. A staff member is present 24 hours per day. He has lived there for two and a half years, and he, his family and the staff are thrilled with his progress.


Learning to deal with anger and anxiety

Jake goes to college a couple of days each week. The rest of the time, he stays very busy and active with his housemates and the house staff, going for walks or to the shops, and playing football outdoors. He gets on particularly well with one of the other residents, Simon, with whom he recently went on holiday, accompanied by the managers of their house.

Issues in early adulthood

During his teenage years, while Jake was living with his parents, things got increasingly difficult. Jake was experiencing angry outbursts and at times became physically aggressive towards his mum.
There was also an occasion when Jake leapt out of the car and ran off while his mum was driving.The triggers for these episodes were often unexpected events, or changes to the usual routine.

Jake would become progressively more anxious (the external signs of which included pacing and picking at his skin), and then frequently the anxiety would turn to anger. Anxiety and anger about changes have always been an issue for Jake, but the problem got more extreme during his teenage years. With the help of a Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Jake learned some techniques to monitor and deal with his anxiety and anger.
Jake rarely has aggressive outbursts now he’s settled into his new accommodation, but on one recent occasion he removed his bedroom door from its hinges and threw it in anger. After they had discussed the incident with Jake, it became clear to staff that he had been getting anxious about a particular upcoming event. Once he was able to opt out of this, things immediately improved. The staff at the house are learning how to spot earlier signs that Jake is becoming distressed, and to help him deal with anxiety by, for instance, playing a game of football outdoors. There are also certain members of staff to whom Jake feels he can talk when he is concerned about something. Jake has a great sense of humour, and certain anxiety-provoking events can be joked through with staff.


The transition from school to college was very difficult, but ultimately successful. Importantly, Jake’s school had a program which incorporates half days at college, and Jake was attending these with a school staff member every week for a year before he went. Some staff overlap between the school and college was also a great help.

Moving from home to his current accommodation was also hard for Jake and his family.The decision to make the move itself was difficult for them all, but they are now all extremely happy with the result.The family thought that a homely environment, living with other people, would suit Jake best, and chose his current house accordingly. Jake has now settled into the house brilliantly, much more quickly than anticipated. From around six months after moving in, his parents and the staff at the house considered that things were going quite smoothly, and the last year has been “fabulous”.

Prior to the move, Jake’s family worked though social stories with him about growing up and leaving home. Jake’s parents (Myra and Steve) and Della, the manager of Jake’s home, also all consider good communication between them to have been key to the successful transition.There was a 4-5 month assessment period prior to the move, during which Della and the family were in close contact, and this contact has been maintained ever since. The regular routines and the manager’s assertive approach make Jake feel safe in the house.Visits from Jake’s family are arranged in advance to keep things predictable and calm for him, and to avoid clashing with planned activities with the staff. However, as Jake settles in, the family increasingly feel that they can call any time, and at short notice, to ask staff whether they can pop in for a visit. For instance, Steve might pop by and take Jake out for an impromptu drink in the pub.

Clothing has frequently been a thorny issue for Jake. It has been important to him to wear specific things for specific occasions, and in the past he has often dressed like a policeman, or copied exactly the clothes which his father or grandfather wore. On a recent family holiday to the Lake District, Myra and Steve were surprised – and slightly apprehensive – when they noticed that Jake was not wearing his “going home” clothes on the morning they were due to return home. To be met by a casual “I’ll change after breakfast” was to Myra and Steve a major indication of Jake’s feeling relaxed and happy.

Myra and Steve
Myra and Steve

The transition from school to college was very difficult, but ultimately successful

Page history
Last modified by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2023/05/08 11:39
Created by Gerritjan Koekkoek on 2021/05/23 11:29



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