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Flourishing at Brentside Cottage

Zainab is a young woman, much loved by her family, who has profound and complex learning disabilities. Being in a day centre environment didn’t work for Zainab and she would become very distressed. “It became increasingly difficult for our family” explained a family member. “We encouraged Zainab to come out into the community, to go for a walk, to go to a restaurant – but we were unsuccessful…it was the hardest decision for us to allow her to live independently.”

In the summer of 2017, Zainab moved into a 3-bedroom shared house in Ealing, living with two other women.

Stronger communication and relationship building

During her first Person-Centered Review, Zainab’s support team collaborated with Zainab’s family and Certitude’s specialist Intensive Support Team to produce a 6-month plan, aiming to reduce instances of distress and improve communication. Zainab was involved in this process every step of the way – it was crucial that the support plan was bespoke to her and that she was able to process it at her own pace.

To start with, a progress monitoring chart was used to record the triggers and frequency of her challenging behaviour. “Golden Moments” were recorded by the team in their daily logs, identifying Zainab’s achievements by highlighting the positive points of her day.

In addition, visual and interactive technology was used to communicate with Zainab including Makaton and Proloquo2Go (a picture/speech communication app on her iPad). Positive behavioral strategies were also put in place by building skills that enabled control, choices and mutual respect. For example, Zainab’s medication times were adjusted after staff learnt that she preferred a lie-in in the morning. The team also supported Zainab to get involved in preparing delicious and healthy meals which helped her to develop a role and purpose in her new home.

Role modelling and reflection activities were essential as it helped staff identify potential triggers and highlighted approaches which were particularly effective. These included re-approaching situations when challenging behaviour occurred, giving appropriate praise and allowing Zainab time on her own. As a result, staff became better at understanding Zainab which led to a significant reduction in distressed behaviour.

Commitment and results

When Zainab first moved into her home, there were up to 60 incidents of challenging behaviour per day. Six months later, there were only 2-3 incidents per week. It has been a joy to watch Zainab’s confidence grow over the past two years. Early last year, she enjoyed her first family meal at a restaurant since she was four years old. She now has an active social life with frequent trips to the cinema, regular swimming and Zumba sessions with her housemates, bi-weekly cooking classes and even a recent holiday to Center Parcs. To top it all off, Zainab was able to attend her sister’s wedding – described as a “dream” by her family.

Moving has been a positive experience for Zainab, boosting her confidence and ability to communicate – her story is inspiring. “The staff have been great in supporting both Zainab and her family,” enthused a family member. “Zainab has always had a lot of potential and now she is able to flourish.”




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