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Dore Programme
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Andrew R

smAndrewRafferty

Vital stats

  • Age: 18
  • Problem areas: Concentration, co-ordination, learning, writing, social skills
  • Completed Dore: September 2009

Background

Wilma realised that something was different about her son, Andrew, from his very first day at school. He wouldn’t mix with the other children and always sat on his own, especially when he was eating.

He seemed unable to concentrate in class and would get up and walk around in the middle of lessons, which led to him being labelled as ‘lazy and disruptive’. There were obsessions about particular subjects too – his fascination with Egypt lasted for about four years!

Andrew was prone to distractions. “If you were talking to him and something caught his attention,” Wilma says, “he was off. Likewise, you could be in the middle of a conversation with someone else and he would interrupt no matter how many times you told him it was rude!”

It was also apparent that his balance and co-ordination were impaired – he couldn’t carry a glass of juice without spilling most of it, couldn’t use a knife and fork at the same time, and he didn’t develop the usual sense of danger that other children do, so he would simply walk out into the middle of the road without even looking for traffic.

Andrew’s journey

By the time Andrew reached high school, a psychologist had diagnosed him with Asperger’s Syndrome but nothing was being done to help him. His writing was dreadful; during exams, he would pick out the bits he wanted to read and answer accordingly, so his answers bore no relation to the actual questions. He would never go out on his own at the weekends – his mum always had to go with him.

When Wilma found the Dore website and completed the online questionnaire, she decided that they simply had to give the programme a try. At first, Andrew found the exercises really hard; they gave him headaches and nausea and he would have temper tantrums because he just didn’t want to do them! But he persevered and eventually they did get easier.

After a couple of months, Wilma realised that Andrew’s moods and his co-ordination had substantially improved. “It was a real turning point,” says Wilma, “because once Dore confirmed the Asperger’s diagnosis, the school finally offered Andrew some support. They arranged for him to have a scribe because of his reading and writing issues and enrolled him on a similar programme of exercises with other autistic children.”

The future

With this support, Andrew passed eight standard exams and is now taking a Higher in Drama. He recently arranged his own interview at Coatbridge College and even discussed with the tutors what support he would need. He can’t wait to begin his course in Business Administration and IT and is keen to work in a hospital or social care environment.

Although his writing is still at a low level for his age, things have improved considerably for Andrew. The exercises have helped his learning abilities, his balance and co-ordination and his general level of independence. He has a Saturday job at his local British Heart Foundation shop in Coatbridge and will happily take himself off to the shops on his own.

Andrew now seems to understand that he has limitations – but he no longer gets frustrated and angry about it.

“I don’t know what sort of boy Andy would have been without Dore.”

Wilma, Andrew’s mother.

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