The Loddon School was established by Marion Cornick in 1988 as a charitable trust to provide a much needed school in the south of England for children who can no longer live at home because of their exceptional support needs. It is the only school of its kind in the UK. 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.
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. Some children live in houses nearby and come to school daily. All children live in small family groups with their own staff who are responsible for their care and support programme and their social development.
The children at The Loddon School 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.
These problems are complicated by such severe communication disorder that the children often do not understand words or gestures or even facial expression and on admission often do not respond to their own name. This difficulty often leads to problem behaviour as children seek to avoid contact or use challenging behaviour to demand attention.
Some children have well developed expressive skills using more than single words, and their conversation is often obsessional and echolalic. Some children are able to use a few single words, but most use PIC (Pictogram Ideogram Communication) symbols developed at the school, a few Makaton signs and early gestures.