Jonathan seemed different from other babies. After years of uncertainty, he was eventually diagnosed with autism and global learning disabilities.
His father David recalls how hard it was at times, watching Jonathan grow up isolated and lonely. He was shunned by his peers because he was different and didn’t have any friends.
Then ten days before his Bar Mitzvah, Jonathan’s mother, Rosalind died. It was devastating for him, as it was for the whole family, at an already very difficult time in his life.
As well as dealing with the grief of losing his mother, Jonathan was experiencing continuing turmoil at school. When he was 16 he was referred to Langdon College in Manchester.
“Jonathan’s confidence soared at Langdon College. He learnt how to travel on public transport by himself, got a part-time job, and for the first time in his life he had real friends who understood him,” says David.
After three years at college, Jonathan moved back to London, armed with a new set of skills, friends and confidence. He moved into Langdon supported accommodation with a flatmate, and learnt how to live independently, cooking and cleaning for himself. He eventually learnt to drive, which for Jonathan, was one of his proudest moments and a huge step towards independence.
His support worker, Rajee, said: “It is really amazing to see the transformation in Jonathan since he has lived here. He is a great cook, following recipes and being conscious of eating healthily. Meal planning is very helpful and it aids his need for routine.”
Jonathan’s next challenge was to try and get a job. With the help of Langdon’s employment service, he secured a paid clerical job at Strettons, a firm of surveyors.
Being part of Langdon has finally given Jonathan the vibrant social life he craved in the early part of his life. He participates in Langdon activities such as the pub nights, bowling and cinema, with his father saying, “He has plans most evenings and because he drives, it makes it much easier for him to get from place to place.”
What would Jonathan’s mother, Rosalind, have made of all this? “She would have been amazed, and very proud,” says David. “Jonathan is highly capable in a lot of respects, but he wasn’t able to convey that when he was younger. Langdon have helped him grow into the independent young man he is today. I don’t think Jonathan would have a life if it hadn’t been for Langdon.”
Jonathan says “I would be lost without Langdon. If it wasn’t for Langdon I wouldn’t have a job or a house I can call home.”
Langdon members, like Jonathan, achieve the extraordinary every day. Through their determination, supported by the dedicated team at Langdon, they refuse to be defined by their learning disabilities, and strive to live increasingly independent lives.
Your support makes all this possible. Through your donations, you help transform the lives of Jonathan and his fellow Langdon members. This Rosh Hashanah, will you add your contribution to this life-changing work?
Thank you so much for your support, and Shana Tova.