Having looked after Richard since he was three, his foster parents Lesley and Colin were determined that when the time came for him to move on, he would live somewhere that not only understood his needs, but would allow him to feel at home and stay for the foreseeable future.
Diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition and ADHD at the age of seven, Richard required a great deal of care and attention at all times. When Richard left school, his foster parents wanted somewhere he could live as an adult but, since the upheaval was likely to be difficult for him, somewhere that would also manage the transition from teenage years to adulthood and not move him on again when he got older.
Lesley said: “Richard was getting very big and he still had aggressive tendencies and obsessive behaviour, which we knew would be more difficult to handle as he got older. For example, one of his obsessions is about his personal belongings, and if we ever went out for the day, he would be worried the whole time about whether his things would be OK.
“We started looking at potential homes when he was 16, but we were determined that, if he moved at that stage, it would be to somewhere where he didn’t have to move again when he was 18.
“I spent a long time looking online for residential homes and made a shortlist - then I realised that all of the homes were run by Choice Care!”
The next stage was securing funding for the placement, so after passing Choice Care’s details to their social worker, two representatives from Choice came to see the family and suggested Rowan Cottage in Burghfield, Berkshire - not too far from their home, so Lesley and Colin could stay in touch.
After visiting the home, they were convinced Rowan Cottage was the right place. “As soon as we saw the home, we liked it immediately – there were people already living there of a similar age and we knew it was somewhere that Richard would fit in well. We could see it would meet his needs. He had his own bathroom and his room is right by the lounge and kitchen so he could keep an eye on his door. Richard knew he was going to move anyway, and I think it was a big relief to him once he knew where he was going to go, and that he wouldn’t have to move again.
“He is now very happy and settled. He has friends his own age, his own space and activities which he can join in if he wants to, but it’s always his own choice. He’s learning skills to become more independent like doing his own laundry and passing his cycling proficiency test. He has even been on holiday with them which is something we always found very difficult to arrange.
“The staff there are wonderful – very respectful of the residents, very understanding and brilliant at maintaining relationships with us. We still speak to him every day and he visits us regularly. I’m so pleased that we found this care home and that everything has worked out so well for Richard.”