About this time last year we were contacted by Maverick TV, makers of Channel 4’s new series ‘Born Naughty?’ who were seeking our help with Honey, a 9 year old girl who had severe anxiety issues. Libby Hill, one of ‘Born Naughty?’s panel of experts, had tried to assess Honey in a library setting but the unfamiliarity of the place and the people had caused Honey to become extremely anxious and destructive, and it took 45 minutes to calm her sufficiently for Libby to begin her assessment. Libby, who runs Smalltalk Speech and Language Therapy based in Uttoxeter, is well known to us and is a stalwart supporter of Nature and Nurture.
She recognised Honey’s ‘meltdowns’ were routed in anxiety, and thought Sunshine Barn would be the perfect place to carry out the second part of her assessment given that its in the countryside and has been designed to be a cosy, low-stress environment for anxious, troubled or traumatised children and young people to be offered therapy in. The fact that we also have a number of animals, including our trained therapy dog, Tilly, also influenced Libby as she knew how much Honey loved animals and thought they would help her to relax.
Episode One, featuring Honey, was aired last night at 8pm. Tilly (although sadly not shown on the programme) accompanied Honey throughout her assessment, and her presence was instrumental in helping Honey relax sufficiently to engage with Libby. The difference in Honey’s behaviour when she came here for the day, compared to when she had been to the library, was striking. It was a wonderful endorsement for our model, and proves that our approach of offering therapy in a relaxed, child-friendly environment enables challenging children to be reached more effectively than seeing them in other types of settings.
You can see Honey at Sunshine Barn here, at 28:59 and read Libby’s blog post about our collaborative work with her and how she assessed Honey below
Honey was formally diagnosed with ASD and Pathological Demand Avoidance, and is now receiving expert support and schooling appropriate to her needs. We are delighted that we were able to play a small part in helping Honey and her family, and are grateful to Libby for highlighting our work.