Marion Cornick, MBE!

We are so proud to share the news with you that our founder & Chair of Directors Marion Cornick has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours for services to education.

Marion founded The Loddon School, in Sherfield-on-Loddon, in 1988 for children with severe learning difficulties including autism.

She has been involved in special education since 1961.

Marion who has also served as a  governor of Fort Hill Community School in Winklebury, Basingstoke saw an opportunity when an old school closed in 1988 and she personally leased the building from another trust to start a school for children who had no provision at the time.

The Loddon School is both home and school for 28 children who have the most severe and complex learning difficulties. Many children also have additional problems associated with autism and epilepsy, including self-injury, aggression and disruptive behaviour.MC, MBE

The children live at the school 52 weeks a year so The Loddon School is a home which provides education, leisure, play, outings and holidays. All children live in small family groups with their own staff who are responsible for their care and support programme and their social development.

Find out more about Marion’s story on our website.

She said of her award: “I am extremely pleased that the work the school has accomplished for children with autism and severe complex needs has been recognised.”

 

Celebrating the positive

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……………that’s exactly what we have been doing recently.

 

 

The support teams within the Liaise homes have been “Focusing on the positive in those we support”. The use of the ASDAN Towards Independence Programme has enabled the homes to “Create a positive learning culture” in which everyone is aware of “clear, shared goals” with regard to individual’s interests and consequent learning opportunities. The consistent, regular practice of these clear, shared goals over the last year has resulted in a number of individuals achieving their ASDAN Awards in their areas of special interest – namely cooking, art and sensory activities.

Recently, Andrea Ede, Learning and Development Manager, and Linzi Holt, ASDAN Co-ordinator, joined these learners in Applelea, Cornview, Sansa House and Baytrees and presented them with their ASDAN certificates – some rather lovely cakes were also shared!

  Cornview     Applelea     Baytrees     Sansa

There was a joint celebration. This learning would not take place without the consistency of learning support from the support teams in the homes. To show Liaises’ appreciation of the commitment co-workers have put into getting ASDAN running in their homes, co-worker teams also received certificates.

Gary LaVigna visits Liaise

Last week we had a visit from Gary LaVigna, co-founder with Thomas Willis of the Institute of Applied Behaviour Analysis (IABA) in Los Angeles. The IABA was created to provide the most advanced and highest possible quality services to support people with developmental disabilities. Their training programme is based on the multi element model of positive behaviour support (PBS) which was adopted and integrated alongside PROACT-SCIPr-UK® by Liaise Loddon to form the basis of our own  positive behaviour support model.

Gary LaVignaGary delivered a talk to Liaise managers and specialist workers on functional analysis and focused support plans and gave us advice and tips on how to effectively implement successful support programmes. There was also a discussion on ensuring consistency in delivery by support teams and measuring outcomes.

The session re-energised us in our work to create the best possible positive and sustainable services for our service users.

Times change…………..

Liaise Loddon is about to be twenty years old and Loddon School is now about 27 years old but my life in the world of autism and education goes back much further! So a potted history of the changes in education and care.

chalkMy teaching career started 55 years ago when autism had only been identified for 20 years. My first job as a teacher was in a secondary school in Southampton where I taught English – and was amazed to find children there who couldn’t read or write – or some even who did not speak. Did they have autism I wondered? Today they would be in a special school but this was before the 1970 Education Act which gave education for all and so began the idea of special schools rather than training centres and hospitals.

My next job was in a special unit for children who found attending school difficult for various reasons. Here I met some highly intelligent children who had areas of brilliance and were gifted in certain subjects and who would now be seen as ‘savants’ who excelled in maths, music and art. One very challenging young man left this unit and founded a world famous computer company and was a millionaire at 18! Perhaps these were gifted children with autism at the other end of the spectrum from those I met in my first job.

At this time most children and adults with learning disabilities were usually put into the care of a local long stay hospital for the ‘severely sub-normal’. In the USA there were hospitals for such patients where 10000 or more people lived!

Girl drawing back to school

After a year teaching in a hospital school in New Zealand I knew more about autism. You learn quickly when you have a class of 12 children with no classroom assistant help and the children aged from 12 to 21 are your responsibility from 8.30 till 3.30 without a break – unless the teacher who shared the room with you and her 12 children gave you ten minutes to eat your lunch.  It was an exciting year where I learnt a great deal about classroom management and how to work with a wide range of disabilities and challenges.

‘Dibs in search of self’ by Virginia Axline influenced me at this stage – a really useful book!Dibs

On my return to the UK in 1975 I became Deputy Head of Hope Lodge School for children with Autism – a newly established school and one of the first in the UK for children with autism. On my first day one boy jumped out of the window and ran all the way to the shops about a mile away with me in hot pursuit! One child had to go into a long stay hospital for Christmas and I had to take her there. She was number 37 in a ward with one nurse sitting in a glass box office and 36 other children lying on a rather unsavoury carpet with a TV high on the wall but no other toys at all. It was rather like the films of Romania! But made me decide that one day, I would ensure it could be done better.

exam-time

During the 1980s I became Head teacher at Greenacres SLD School in Winchester where I introduced EDDY, real learning and the teaching of reading and a school day with a curriculum, teaching strategies and even their first BBC computer. Then I became Director of Education at Ravenswood Village in Berkshire where there were 200 children and adults living in a special village. In this job I introduced assessment and programmed reviews so that children and adults had targets and opportunities to learn new skills.

So from the early days of teaching in Southampton to the work in Berkshire I was working towards a new way of working with people with disabilities and making sure that each person was given respect and opportunity. It was at Ravenswood that I was introduced by a visitor to the developing programme in New York called SCIP. I worked with Janet Bromley and Linzi Holt to develop the programme and deliver it in Ravenswood so that it became a proactive positive programme forming the basis of our work today in Loddon School and Liaise Loddon now known as PROACT-SCIPr-UK®
Now we have more than 700 instructors teaching positive programming and behaviour supports throughout the UK and even in Zambia where we have 6 keen instructors already.

So my teaching journey began when I as a small girl decided to become a teacher and to ensure that children with disabilities were given real opportunities – and look where we are now! Do you have a vision? Where do you want to be and what do you want to achieve?

The world of disability has changed in my life time and will continue to change so that everyone has an opportunity and no one lives in the conditions I saw in old hospitals, and in Romania. Follow your vision!

Marion Cornick Co-founder & Chair of Directors Liaise LoddonMarion Cornick, Chair of Directors