Shirley Smith nominated for National LD and Autism ‘Outstanding Contributions’ Award

19th June 2017

Congratulations to Shirley Smith who was nominated for the Outstanding Contributions Award by a parent, who said the following;

“Shirley Smith has been a huge influence on our son Duncan’s life, and for many other people with severe learning difficulties.

He first met her when he joined her class, as teacher of the leavers’ year at a special needs school.  He was suffering from severe anxiety and depression; when I took him into class that first day, I saw how her calm welcome and the class’s atmosphere had Duncan relaxing within minutes. Her skill and leadership helped him to settle and gain confidence over the year, while preparing him and his classmates for life after school.

She is a founding director of HCA, in one of whose homes Duncan has lived for thirteen years.  HCA has an inspiring ethos, where the residents are treated as individuals, their personal likes and needs are encouraged and respected.  Shirley’s main role is training the staff how to care for their residents, and treat them as adults with adult needs.  Duncan, together with his fellow residents, has benefited greatly from the caring and mature attitude of the many staff who look after him, and who he regards as his friends.  Their skill and ability to give the residents genuine choice in their lives, while ensuring their safety and well being, owes much to Shirley Smith’s role in selecting, supporting and training the staff.

Shirley’s ethos has had a huge influence on all the staff and residents; in addition Duncan has benefitted personally from Shirley’s care.  He spends a morning with her most weeks.  They have continued more ‘formal’ work, such as developing his communication and writing skills, while also enhancing his life skills, such as walking dogs, shopping, cooking, and feeding birds.  These mornings form part of his routine, which he values greatly, and tells us about with enthusiasm when we see him.”