John is non-verbal, has complex needs and behaviours that challenge others. He was initially placed in shared accommodation, but due to his sensory needs and complexities around his PICA diagnosis, his team determined that his needs were not able to be met in this environment.

John needed severe restrictions around food access and storage and struggled to have his sensory needs met, which would result in behaviours that challenge which also impacted upon his co-tenants. His support team found the right environment for him where he has full control and can have his sensory needs met, which has resulted in a range of positive and life-changing outcomes.

Our approach

Building relationships and trust

John’s support staff were carefully selected to ensure he had the right support with people who understood his needs. It was discovered that due to experiences in his past, John preferred his team to be female. His team tried different methods of communication with him and found that he responded best to a ‘firm but fair’ approach, and they have now built up a strong level of trust with him. This has led to him expressing affection with his support team, by holding out his arm for them to touch for example, where previously he would regularly have aggressive outbursts.

Sourcing the right environment

John’s support team and other healthcare professionals worked closely with the local authority commissioner and landlord to source a property that met all of John’s needs, where he could be safe and able to express himself in the way he chooses in an appropriate environment. John’s family, healthcare professionals and an advocate were all involved in helping to ensure that his needs would be met, his voice was heard, and his support package was tailored to him.

This took some time and several properties before finding somewhere suitable. Due to John’s PICA diagnosis, he needed a property with separate rooms to eat and store food in. He also needed a property with a private garden which is not overlooked, as due to his sensory needs he enjoys being able to undress and walk outdoors.

John’s support team were able to find a property that met these requirements and also had an additional room which he now uses as a sensory room, with lights, music and items to comfort him such as blankets and toys. John has free access to all of his sensory items and can self-soothe in this room whenever he needs, which has resulted in a greater quality of life for him.

There is also a security system in place in his property, which means that his level of support has been able to be reduced. John can move freely around the house without direct supervision at all times, and if he does try to leave the property his support team are notified so they can join him and ensure he is safe.


Reduction in restrictive practices
Due to John now living in a safe and suitable environment that meets his needs, the severe restrictions that had previously been in place around food and food storage are no longer in place. John is now able to live more freely and independently in the least restrictive environment possible.

Reduction in challenging behaviour
These changes have seen a huge reduction in John’s behaviours that challenge. John would previously have aggressive outbursts regularly, but has not had any aggressive outbursts in years.

Reduction in support
Due to the improvement in John’s quality of life and wellbeing, he is now safe to not be supervised at all times. John has gone from needing 24/7 2:1 support to 1:1 support with supervision.

Friendships and socialising
John is now able to meet up with his prior co-tenants as friends and enjoy their company, where previously there was a lot of friction due to his sensory needs and restrictions.

Trips in the community
John goes out regularly in the community and enjoys weekly meals out and walks, where previously he would not be able to do this due to behaviours that challenge.


“John’s move has been the most positive thing that could have happened for him. To see the change in his presentation all because of the dedication and commitment from his care team to ensure his voice was heard and his needs were met has been transformational.

It has been wonderful to see friendships blossom with John’s previous co-tenants, where we didn’t initially believe that this could happen due to the previous conflict. This has been a fabulous thing for John.” – Kaley Kenyon, Area Manager