Fran’s story

Fran case study

The following adolescent case study, with names changed, has kindly been provided by a member of SLT at a secondary PRU.

“Fran was 13 years old when I started working with her. She had been permanently excluded from mainstream schools and placed within our PRU. Fran’s background was very troubled: her father committed suicide when she was 5 years old and when I first met her she was living with her mum, with whom she had a poor relationship, and her violent and abusive step-father. She had attachment issues, and was verbally abusive to staff, finding it difficult to stay in a classroom or even school. Excitable and drawn to drama, she was very physical with boys but wouldn’t let anyone else touch her. She would often lie on the floor or tables and refuse to move. Her habitual expression was a frown or look of disgust.

“When I assessed Fran using Thrive-Online, it was clear that the main priorities were to help her feel ‘safe’ and ‘special’, and to provide plenty of containment. We began by providing her with a safe room and arranged that, each morning, myself or another member of staff would welcome her and take her to wherever she was meant to be. Initially, she displayed strong resistance to our attempts to build relationship, being verbally abusive, refusing to participate and physically trying to escape. Over time, however, she started to relax and began to engage with us. We were then able to introduce more Thrive activities, which included cooking together and making cushions and loom bands. Throughout this process, everything we did was intended to make her feel safe and special. At first she threw much of it back at us, but slowly we started to notice a change in her. She began to access lessons, she started to learn and she started to smile. The biggest breakthrough came when Fran’s mum came in to join us and spoke openly about her problems in connecting with Fran. Through talking with us, she began to understand Fran better and we coached her in how to use Thrive techniques and implement them at home.

“Fran’s Thrive plan was interrupted when she and her mum suddenly went into a refuge with no indication of when, if at all, she would return. Then, one day, I walked down the school drive to find Fran standing there, and this girl, who so many times had told me she hated me and who hugged no one other than boys she fancied, threw her arms around me.

“Fran has now resumed at the school, having moved back into the family home. She has been reassessed using Thrive-Online and now has a wider base of trusted adults that are continuing Thrive practice with her. Fran is now making good progress in both her learning and in her social and emotional development. I feel so proud of her.”