Home Activity Sessions and Toffee Club Play Sessions for Children with Multiple Support Needs
A story by Geeza Break
TOFFEE Club consists of 5 hour Play Activity Sessions at St Mungo’s Academy, Gallowgate, during school holiday periods and Home Activity Play Sessions for children with multiple support needs which also provides respite for their parents/carers.
What Home Activity Sessions and Toffee Club Play Sessions for Children with Multiple Support Needs did
COVID19 Plan B was used if the Toffee Club sessions could not take place in St Mungo’s Academy, we would provide children with additional home activity respite sessions instead. As we were unable to secure St Mungo’s for Easter, Summer or October for the Toffee Club we delivered additional home based activity respite sessions instead, which worked well.
During April 2021- March 2022 we provided 4 hour home based activity sessions within the family home as well as taking the children out to the park or to our community flat which is set up with sensory play equipment. Additionally, we provided the families with educational activity packs and arts and crafts materials via other funding secured so that they had a variety of play resources which could be used out with the respite sessions.
Parents were happy for sessions to be delivered within the family home as often it is more suitable due to specific disabilities. We delivered 120 x 4 hour sessions. From this 13 Carers have enjoyed a few much needed hours to themselves. Sometimes that was just doing household chores or shopping in peace. Some also met up with family and friends or simply had the chance to relax. One carer took a driving course which would make her life easier with two disabled children during respite sessions and passed her test and is now awaiting delivery of a car. Two carers started to attend fitness classes at the gym.
The families who received the service mainly self referred. However, some of the families were referred to our service by other local organisations and health visitors. A 1:1 assessment is carried out with each family to ensure what is being offered is tailored to their needs. We ensure that all local organisations and health services and professional are aware of our services and we promote via leaflets and posters.
Prior to the Home Activity Sessions taking place staff took the time to read up on each child’s condition. Our project addressed the following priorities:-
- Complex needs
- Sports and active leisure
What Geeza Break has learned
The importance of being flexible and the ability to provide Respite Sitting sessions instead of Toffee Club sessions, especially during emergency situations was a life line for many families.
The Respite Sessions need to be tailored to the needs of each family and it is important that the respite sitters take time to get to know the child/family and adapt sessions accordingly.
Securing funding to enable us to make up arts and crafts bags encouraged the children to be active and engaged outwith the respite sitting sessions. Again these were appreciated by the families as budgets are often tight.
How Geeza Break has benefitted from the funding
The funding enables us to deliver the respite services specifically to families who self-refer. Without this funding we would not be in a position to offer this respite. The funding builds our capacity to offer respite as well as continuing to build our skills and knowledge of dealing with multiple support needs and ensuring the necessary training is delivered. Overall the funding also acts as a catalyst in securing other funding towards the overall programme as Better Breaks only part funds.
10 children with disabilities/multiple support needs will have more confidence and improved health and wellbeing by taking part in fun activity sessions.
We delivered 120 x 4 hour sessions of fun activity sessions in the home or in our community flat or outdoors in the park which provided 9 children/YP with stimulating activities keeping them active and engaged.
O and C both have additional support needs. C is being assessed for autism and O has been diagnosed as profoundly deaf, having a cochlear implant fitted as well as having congenital CMV. Dad works full-time and mum also cares for her mother. With the stresses of daily life this family rarely get an opportunity to get out within the community to experience different opportunities, have fun and build relationships. Respite was provided to 3 children from the family both home based and out within the community. The children were able to attend activities such as soft play and flip out where they were able to run off a bit of energy whilst having fun and interacting with other children and the respite sitters. The sessions that were home based worked on the relationships of the siblings which at times wasn’t great. Mum said there was a lot of fighting amongst them. The respite sitters worked on playing together with their siblings picking different activities each week for example role play, puzzles, dancing and arts/crafts. The respite sitters worked on turn taking with the children as well. In addition to the fun being had by all the respite sitters were able to encourage C to use the toilet to do a poo which was the first time he had ever managed this. He usually only went in a nappy which was a difficult thing to manage for mum and dad. The respite team managed to encourage this through telling stories about ‘poo land’. Whilst working one to one with O one of the respite sitters was aware of an app that allowed pictures to be translated into words – this helped O greatly with her communication and enabling her brother and sister to understand what she was saying.
15 Carers will be have the opportunity to access other community resources or peer support groups during their respite sessions.
Delivered 120 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received a different number of respite hours however most received approximately 9 x 4 hour periods of respite. 13 carers advised that they got peace to clean the house, get shopping done and all carers enjoyed time to themselves to relax and put their feet up. Some carers also got to spend some time with each other, others joined the gym and one took driving lessons.
Z and his mum were referred to our service for some support as mum had been struggling with Z’s care and lacked support from family member to care for him. Z had a number of health conditions requiring 24/7 care and support from mum resulting in her becoming very overwhelmed and drained as a result of this. Z was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and autism. Z is also non-verbal and doubly incontinent. Z has a poor sleep pattern resulting in the family being deprived of sleep. Z’s behaviour can also be challenging and violent at times. This stress in daily life resulted in mum being unwell physically and emotionally. Mum said the support from Geeza Break allowed her time to focus on herself again, improving her health through rest and being able to meet with friends and family to enjoy time without having to constantly care and worry about Z. She said this improved her mental health immensely and doesn’t know if she would have been able to cope for much longer with the situation as it was. The respite had given her a new lease on life where she felt refreshed and able to fit back into her carer role when needed.
15 carers will have improved health and wellbeing and be less stressed with the time to look after their own health and wellbeing and spend time with other family members.
Delivered 120 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received approximately 9 x 4 hour periods of respite. Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child was receiving the Respite Sitting Service and overall they had more time to themselves which overall improved their health and wellbeing. Several carers reported that the respite sessions were a life saver.
H has chromosome ring 1.4, is in a wheelchair, has epilepsy, no speech and learning difficulties all of which means that H requires 24/7 care. H is also fed through a tube. H’s Mum, S, sleeps in the same room because H has severe reflex mostly during the night. S had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. Training was arranged for the Respite Provider for moving and handling (for H’s hoist and wheelchair) as well as H’s peg feeding before respites started. Respite provision in the family home was provided for four hours on a weekly basis with dates and times remaining flexible to accommodate the family’s needs. Activities during respites were all sensory: bells, tambourine, singing. When H slept, the Respite Provider did housework such dishes and washing. Although this was out-with the Respite Provider’s role Mum was grateful for this help as her hands had suffered damage through chemotherapy/radiotherapy. S felt better supported to sustain her caring role as respite allowed her to either get some sleep or get out and about to carry out basic tasks e.g. shopping. It also allowed her to meet with a friend for a coffee which helped her mental health. Respite provided S with a regular break each week in the knowledge that H was in safe hands with a trained and professional worker who was taking good care of H. S feels that the flexibility shown by Geeza Break was vital as her circumstances often meant that respite dates/times needed to be changed at short-notice. S was also recovering from chemotherapy/radiotherapy and experienced severe side-effects so she really valued the help that Geeza Break gave her.
15 Carers and 10 children with disabilities/multiple support needs will have visibly improved their overall health and well-being.
Delivered 120 x 4 hour home activity sessions – each carer received approximately 9 x 4 hour periods of respite. 13 Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child received the Respite Sitting Sessions and overall they had more time to themselves which overall improved their health and wellbeing. Also the 9 children/YP have been able to take part in fun and stimulating activities via the Respite Sitting Sessions and overall have had good fun which helped improve their health and wellbeing.
The family of S were at breaking point due to her escalating inappropriate and sexualized behaviours. S is a highly demanding child who presents challenging behaviours. S has been diagnosed with Pica (eating disorder in which she eats substances which have no nutritional value e.g. dog food etc). Mum P is primary carer for S as Dad, B, struggles with S's behaviour due to her directing most of this towards him. B also has mental health issues which have resulted in him attempting suicide 3 times. Mum was struggling to cope and did not look after herself as she often prioritised B and S's care before her own. S was socially isolated as her behaviours and risk to herself did not warrant her to go out and play in the street without an appropriate adult. This meant S was always in her mother and father’s care which also caused a strain on the parent's relationship as they had no time as a couple. Furthermore, this was having an affect on S's social development as she was isolated and therefore was unaware on social cues and what is socially acceptable and what is not socially acceptable. S received respite which provided her with fun outdoor activities with a Respite Provider. During respites S was around other children, got exercise and used up her energy. During respites S visited different locations (including parks and Flip Out) across Glasgow which she had never visited before, reducing her isolation. The parents benefitted from time to access supports for paternal mental health issues and for Mum to have a break from her caring responsibilities in regards S and B. The Respite Provider also noted that the family’s communication towards one another seemed calmer.