A young man with autism from Worthing overcame his severe anxiety by taking an overnight trip to Alton Towers.
Sam Motton, 25, made the 230-mile journey alongside two members of staff from Coneyhurst Lodge residential home in St Lawrence Avenue, Worthing, where he lives.
Elvira Panxha, service manager, said: “It worked out really well. He was amazing. He was really calm and cheerful and took everything in his stride.
“We helped prepare him for the visit by taking him out on regular short trips to different places and then staying a while to slowly build up his confidence.”
Deputy manager Dan Adams and senior support worker Aimee White accompanied Sam on the trip, and used visual guides known as social stories to help him know what to expect.
Aimee said: “Even with fast-track tickets we had to wait five-minutes to get on The Smiler. Normally this would have presented a huge challenge but he didn’t bat an eyelid.
“This was a huge milestone for Sam and something we can build on for the future. He had a fantastic day, the scarier the ride the better. He was laughing the whole time, while poor Dan and I were holding on for dear life.”
After their fantastic day, Sam watched a film with a pizza and stayed the night before the trio returned back to Worthing the next morning.
Aimee added: “The whole staff team and Sam’s parents are really proud of his achievement as Sam finds it difficult to stay anywhere that is not his own room.
“We’re hoping to take him to Disneyland Paris in September to meet up with his parents. They want to have a family holiday together which they haven’t been really able to do before.”
The team are now preparing Sam to be able to stay away from home for up to two nights so he can make the journey.