When Tom joined the William Henry Smith School in March 2009 he had significant difficulties, a diagnosis of ASD and a fascination with aggression and violence. He had been excluded from his previous school and home tutoring had also failed.

From his very first day at our school Tom was unwilling to communicate with anybody and he used to head immediately to the corner of the room and face the wall in silence. This was Tom's way of expressing his feelings and this lasted for many weeks.

Staff adapted their working styles and practices to meet Tom's specific needs and tried to get him to engage in daily routines and conversations. Tom would flatly refuse to eat, talk, attend class, wear socks or have his photo taken, he also displayed aggression and violence towards his peers and staff - his difficulties were complex and significant. After some time, staff slowly started to make progress with Tom and he eventually became more comfortable in his surroundings at the school and began to break out of his shell. Over the next few years, and to his own amazement, Tom started to see his magnificent personality develop and his confidence just grew and grew.


He overcame significant anxieties and this included his fear of being within large groups of people. He has gone one step beyond this and not only attends all whole school events such as Sports Day and the Swimming Gala, he feels comfortable enough to participate! Tom has continued to push himself and has made consistent and remarkable progress. He has developed a healthy sense of humour and has turned out to be an incredible young man who is excelling at every opportunity. Tom is now seen as an Ambassador for the school and he can always be relied upon to set the right example to his peers. He shows visitors around the school adding some very interesting facts in his detailing of events and life here. He has found a way of expressing himself through acting and now loves to be the centre of attention, frequently performing during assemblies and whole school cabarets and even leading a drama performance in front of 200 people! Tom is a fantastic young man and a great example of what can be achieved.