The Humans behind Arnold the Wonder Dog
Emma Scott and Trudy Read began as work colleagues but have become very good friends. United by a number of common interests such as walking, comedy, road trips, and seeing the best in everyone and everything, they also share key values about working with children and young people. Committed to ensuring they adopted a flexible approach to suit each young person, they quickly discovered that they also had a similar passion for working alongside young people. Working together in alternative provision cemented their friendship and prompted them to explore other ways that together, they could reach out to help children.
They are both excited about their shared venture and believe that with Arnold the Wonder Dog Ltd., they will be able to make a real difference to young lives.
Emma began her working life as a Nanny to two children aged 0 to 4 years old. She discovered that she had more patience than she realised and that a sense of humour was very useful to defuse or manage any situation involving children. After four years, she sought new challenge and was lucky enough to begin a career in social care. At a therapeutic children’s home, Emma worked closely with young people aged between 11 and 18 with significant social, emotional and behavioural difficulties who had experienced significant trauma. Working alongside psychotherapists and art therapists, Emma developed a broad skill base which had a real impact on these children’s lives. With weekly group supervision sessions overseen by a psychotherapist, Emma learned the importance of reflection and looking for the communication behind children’s behaviour. This was central to her approach with, and support of the young people in her care. Keen to develop her own professional expertise, Emma achieved her Level 3 in Children and Young people in the Work Force and later completed the first year in a Level 6 qualification in Creating a Therapeutic Environment. After 14 years working in social care Emma began working in the education sector. In an Alternative Provision in Ipswich, her role was as a Transition Mentor working with students in Year 11. Emma supported a wide range of learner to plan and prepare for post 16 learning, training or work. Quickly though, she discovered that it wasn’t just Year 11 students who could benefit from her input. Those young people with particularly challenging learning profiles or traumatic childhood experiences naturally gravitated towards her. As a result, her job evolved and as well as the transition role, Emma began working on a 1:1 basis with younger children in the school who needed input from an adult who identified with them, understood their point of view and could be an effective role model. With her consistent support and a willingness to put them first, they found a sense of belonging, began to engage in learning and thrive. This work gave Emma the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of young people with an autism spectrum diagnosis and mental health difficulties and discover that her affinity for children went beyond the stereotyped ‘naughty’.
Her compassion renewed and deepened, Emma has recently returned to social care to take up a senior role in a therapeutic children’s home. Here, she intends using her recent experience of the education sector to deliver a more joined up approach to her work which places the children, their voice and needs at the centre of everything she does. She is a true advocate for children and young people.
Emma has also discovered that despite thinking it would be impossible, she has a talent for designing websites. Who knows what will come next.
Trudy has worked with children and young people since 1985. She began work in Belgium as a Nanny to three young children aged 0 to 3 years. In 1991, Trudy qualified with a B.Ed (Triple Hons) as a Teacher of English and Youth and Community Worker. Having worked with young adults with learning disability, and young addicts, she then moved into secondary education. Alongside being a teacher of English, Trudy worked in a variety of roles such as SEN Lead, Assistant Head of Year and Deputy Head of Department in a Community School in Bedfordshire until 2000 when she relocated to Suffolk. She worked in two secondary schools in Ipswich before moving into Alternative Provision in 2006. Trudy has a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in a wide variety of mental health conditions with a particular interest in supporting young people with an autism spectrum diagnosis. Devising personalised programmes to support development of social skills, confidence and self-awareness, Trudy worked closely with young people and their families to deliver a joined up approach with the child’s needs at the centre of each plan. Passionate about empowering young people, Trudy became a Deputy Head in 2014 and Joint Head Teacher in 2016, a post she held until December 2019. She continues to relish opportunities to support young people to become the best they can be. Keen to sharpen her skills and develop expertise, Trudy trained and qualified as a Licensed Thrive Practitioner; an approach which underpins everything she believes: that all children and young people have the right to feel valued, listened to and belong. With this knowledge and experience comes a strong belief that every child and young person has talent and she is privileged to support them to discover it. In the Spring of 2020, Trudy will be completing training to enable her to deliver Mindfulness coaching as an additional way to support young people to manage emotions in their busy day to day lives.
Always open to new possibilities, Trudy has also discovered a love of numbers and spreadsheets which she hopes to put to good use in the team’s ventures as Arnold the Wonder Dog. From January 2020, exciting developments will be introduced to make sure that clients’ needs remain at the heart of what Trudy does.