At the age of just 12 Olivia suffers from Autism, extreme separation anxiety and depression.
Like for so many children with mental health conditions, mainstream schooling did nothing to ease the anxiety, in fact it heightened it, and saw days when Olivia just couldn’t make it out of the safety of her home to be taken to school.
They need nurturing, calm environments and this is what Manor Farm provides.
“Having found a specialist school to attend, Olivia was funded to attend EAQ Manor Farm one day a week, and even now this is considered her ‘release’ day,” says Olivia’s mum. “Traditional classroom learning puts too much pressure on a child who is already struggling. They need nurturing, calm environments and this is what Manor Farm provides.”
“Olivia suffers from physical anxiety symptoms which prevent her from going outside,” she continues. “Therefore forward planning for the family is impossible as we don’t know what the day will bring. We can believe we’re having a good day – everything is going okay and five minutes later we find ourselves in the middle of a meltdown.”
“The first journey to Manor Farm was as many journeys are, but Olivia had a really positive start and settled in well amongst the quiet and calm environment, which makes her feel really safe, and in turn eases her anxiety. She loves all animals and being around the ponies helps her. She has realised that they too don’t always have good days and has learned how to react to this.
Ian and Kerry who run Manor Farm are learner-led and very able to adapt to the behaviours and needs of each individual. They manage to gain the confidence of the children in a unique way, and this has made Olivia more confident to get out and do the things she enjoys doing. They gain trust from the children by giving them responsibilities, without the pressure and this has resulted in Olivia being able to express herself which is something that she has found difficult in the past.’