FAA-Short Break/Activity - Respite - Teenranch
A story by FIFE ACTION ON AUTISM
We run two adult clubs and two teenage clubs for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The clubs meet fortnightly in Dunfermline, Leuchars, Kirkcaldy and Methil. The main aim is to improve social skills through improving access to social and leisure opportunities, interactive games and outings. As additional funding allows, we offer short breaks, eg to Teen Ranch. Both clubs and short breaks offer respite to family carers and the service users.
We attended Teenranch (Activity Centre) near Dundee on a long weekend activity break for 21 Asperger Syndrome Disorder (ASD) adults and 5 carers from Fife. 2 staff 5 Volunteers also attended to supervise and manage the weekend activity break. The activity break provided respite time for attendees taking them away from daily routines and stresses. Additionally respite time will be experienced by carers and family at home.
Activities at Teenranch included Horse Riding, Canoeing, Archery, BMX biking, Sports Hall with a range of game facilities.
The project also introduced new experiences and activities to attendees who were encouraged and supervised in group activities provided at the Centre to include Horse Riding, Canoeing, Archery, BMX Biking, Sorts Hall/Games etc. The group involvement and short residential experience are seen as invaluable in a developmental context. Therefore in addition to the respite provision this group activity involvement is invaluable in increasing self confidence and self esteem and also in improving social interaction skills.
What FAA-Short Break/Activity - Respite - Teenranch did
Two additional part-time staff have been recruited this year to enable the opening of a second teenage club.
ADVERTISING/CHOOSING PEOPLE FOR ACTIVITIES
We accept direct referrals from parents and referrals from social work staff. The Asperger Support Co-ordinator decides which club members would most benefit from each short break depending on individual needs, family circumstances and the need to form an appropriate group for peer interaction.
TYPE OF BREAK
This funding was for a three day break to Teen Ranch, near Edzell in Perthshire, an activity-based project offering well supervised group activities such as horse riding, canoeing, archery and BMX Biking.
WHAT THEY DID
Club members took part in all activities in small groups and socialised during meals and games. Some activities involved working together, most were things they had not tried before and all involved listening to and following safety rules. Carers had time to spend with other family members.
Rory also suffers from Epilepsy. Therefore breaks away from home with the Youth Club, especially ones in Teen Ranch as he loves the outdoors , are of great benefit to him as well as myself (his Mother). I know that he will be with people that he knows and I can trust them to take care of his needs. These breaks are invaluable to all the family........Rory enjoys being in a social group of a similar age and doing all the activities and I get to spend quality time with the rest of the family and friends.
What FIFE ACTION ON AUTISM has learnedThis fund has made a great difference to our organisation. The clubs were set up to improve social skills and our core funding allowed one or two short breaks each year to be organised for club members. These provided incidental benefits to carers in terms of respite.
The additional funding has enabled short breaks to be more of a core element of our service, providing much valued respite to family carers as well as the opportunity for young people and adults to go on breaks without their parents, as their peers without a disability can do. With our core funding coming from Fife Council and no real increase in recent years, we should not have been able to offer short breaks to so many club members without this additional funding.