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A music-loving, walking enthusiast has found his voice for the first time in five years.

Family of 49-year-old Philip Cooper, who has autism, have been amazed by the life-changing progress in his ability to communicate with family members and carers.

Philip - who has complex learning difficulties - moved into the Priory Charnwood Lodge care home in Leicestershire in October.

Priory’s autism specialists initially found Philip hadn’t spoken more than two words - ‘later’ and ‘tomorrow’ - during the past five years, having lost his speech following a period of past trauma. Yet within just a few weeks at the care home staff observed progress they had never imagined possible for Philip in such a short space of time. Carers have described his communication skills since moving into the home as ‘incredible’.

Philip’s brother Nigel Cooper, said: “We’re so proud of Philip. His vocabulary has really increased since his stay at Priory began. As a family, we are delighted.”

Philip Cooper with his mum

Keighley Mann, Home Manager at Priory Charnwood Lodge, said: “Philip is a lovely character and he fits right in here. When he first arrived with us in October, we were advised that he had significant needs and had been non-verbal for a number of years, but within just two weeks he began to talk to us! That was such a special moment and one I’ll never forget.

“This is what makes our job so special. We’re here to help people live their life, so to support someone like Philip is inspiring.

“He’s now communicating more and more. He’s reached a point where he socialises with staff and other residents in the home, he can talk to us about what he wants, and he gets out of the home into the community every day. We can tell that he feels comfortable, which has made all the difference. The progress he has made is incredible.” 

Philip’s passions include rock band music, long walks, meals out and visiting the airport to watch the planes, which he does with carers at the home as well as his family.

Keighley, who oversees Philip’s care at Priory Charnwood Lodge, said: “He has a lovely family, with a supportive mum and brother who visit him. He’s in the right place for his needs. Everyone is different and everyone faces different challenges, but we hope Philip’s story could be an inspiration for others with autism and learning difficulties.”

Priory Charnwood Lodge is a specialist residential home for people with autism, learning disabilities and associated mental health needs, in Leicestershire. Carers aim to provide innovative person centred support programmes in a safe and enabling environment.

Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. It treats more than 70 conditions including depression, anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across its nationwide network of sites. The Priory Adult Care Division is one of the leading providers of specialist residential adult care, including services such as those provided by Priory Charnwood Lodge.


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About Priory and MEDIAN

Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. We treat more than 70 conditions including depression, anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across our nationwide network of sites. We also support adults with complex autism, learning disabilities, Prader-Willi Syndrome and brain injuries, as well as older people, as a leading provider of specialist residential care and supported living – helping as many people as possible to live their lives.   

Priory is part of MEDIAN, one of Europe’s leading providers of high-quality mental health and medical rehabilitative services. Overall, there are 430 facilities in the MEDIAN Group, comprising 307 Priory facilities with 5,364 beds in the United Kingdom caring for 35,000 people, and 123 facilities and 20,000 beds and therapy places in Germany, caring for around 260,0000 patients, with approximately 35,000 employees overall.    

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