FAA - SHORT BREAK ACTIVITY
A story by FIFE ACTION ON AUTISM
The Project delivered on the principal aim of respite to attendees and to stay-at-home Carers and family through the planned Short Break in Yorkshire.
Group activities included a number of outdoor games and activities, including climbing frames and team events.
The living and sharing experience of a group residential break was managed to ensure a balanced mix of people grouped within the 6 cottages most likely to ‘get along’ and help and share with each other.
Managed tasks such as cooking, cleaning, shopping were organized in such a way that some interdependence was required by the groups in completing tasks.
Respite is provided to attendees on the Short Break and additionally to stay-at-home Carers and family. A secondary aim for attendees who have varying medical conditions, of which autism is common to them all, is to encourage participation in group activities to increase self confidence and self esteem along with improving social interaction skills. A third aim is to increase awareness of the needs of others through group participation in events and the experience of group residential living.
Tip 1:Co-ordinator and volunteers must have a good understanding of the disability affecting the participants.
Tip 2:A thorough risk assessment is essential with a contingency plan in place
Tip 3:Careful consideration of compatibility of participants makes for good relationships. Health and consent forms e.g. knowledge of any medical conditions, what medication taken also times to be taken, emergency contact details, Doctors telephone number and address, special diets. Consent form for photos to be taken and shared.
A secondary aim for attendees who have varying medical conditions, of which autism is common to them all, is to encourage participation in group activities to increase self confidence and self esteem along with improving social interaction skills. Feedback and example of benefit is illustrated in the following 3 Case Studies.
Thanks to the Better Breaks, my son had the opportunity to attend the Yorkshire break which he thoroughly enjoyed. The break gave him an opportunity to spend time with youngsters and adults outwith the family, improve his social communication, and practice some independent living skills. The break also gave me, his carer, a much-needed break. After the break, both my son and I myself felt relaxed and recharged. The coordinator and her team are very dedicated to the young people and have been very impressed by them.
Feedback from the families were very similar to the story from one of the families as follows -. The four of us really enjoyed the trip, as everyone was kind and warm and inviting to one another, all the children got on well, which was really nice especially for my son who has autism and is very quiet and who keeps to himself, but he opened up to everyone and got involved in activities with the other children.
My husband and I enjoyed meeting the families and found them easy to talk to and to open up to as they have had similar experiences to us, so we could be open about what was happening with us. The cottages were absolutely beautiful and we found it beneficial not just to us but to the boys also as they were in the open playing in a safe nurturing environment with children who have or have siblings with autism so they all knew how to react to each other and they got along really well.
We have kept in touch with everyone via Facebook or phone calls and meet up with them on occasion, which is nice as it keeps the relationship going and also gives us people to talk to who are in similar situations to us. We would definitely recommend the trip as it was extremely beneficial to not only the children but the adults also as you were able to relax knowing the children were safe and the adults knew the volunteer / staff had experience and knowledge of ASD.
I'm pleased to tell you that my son really enjoyed being in the social group of Fife Action on Autism. He had many fun times joining in the outdoor and indoor activities during the summer week to the Yorkshire break with other peers, parents and volunteers. He benefited from the structure and positive peer interaction, which helps him to build up the essential social and communication skills. It is nice to see him being more confidence and happy to making friends. The time my son was away I benefited from the respite and the week made such a difference to what I could do for myself as his carer.
I would like to thank you so much for offering to my son who has enjoyed taking part and being accepted to play, which contributes to his health and growth out in the community and at home. My son is looking forward to the next outdoor trip and attends the Asperger Social clubs bi-weekly which again allows to us both having some quality time socialising with other within the community.
The break was managed in such a way as to maximize opportunities for the children with autism to participate in sharing and social activities with a view to improving social interaction skills and the experience of sharing in decisions and to encourage the culture of thinking of the needs of others.
Opportunities were provided for carers and the children and young people they care for to be at the centre of planning and decision making about their short break.
All benefited from feeling they are not alone in their caring role and from the building of an on-going peer support network.
Carers and disabled children have benefited directly from the Project through good respite provision in an activity based Break. Carers and the children looked forward to the Break and participated in the various activities and outings on a group basis involving social interactions not normally available to them.
Discussion took place throughout the week which all participated in with various suggestions on a daily basis regarding the project.
Unanticipated benefits – long-term continuing friendships among participating families, providing much-needed peer support and encouragement.