Home Activity Sessions and TOFFEE Club play sessions for children with multiple support needs
A story by Geeza Break
TOFFEE Club provides 5 hour Play Activity Sessions at local venue 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
With the funding from Better Breaks during the Easter and Summer Break we delivered 80 Toffee Club 5 hour play sessions to 10 child. The sessions provide a safe and supported environment for the children to play and learn. Over the last 12 months we provided 80 x 4 hours home based activity sessions within the family home as well as taking children out to the park or to our community flat which is set up with sensory play equipment. Both services allowed parent/Carers time to themselves to de-stress, look after their own health, or spend quality time with other family members/friends. Parents were happy for sessions to be delivered within the family home as often it is more suitable due to specific disabilities. 15 Carers have enjoyed a few 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. 1 carer enrolled for a short wellbeing course, 1 carer attended a keep fit course and 1 carer attended some counselling appointments. 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. 1:1 assessments are 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:-
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.
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 80 x 5 hour Toffee Club Sessions to 10 children during the Easter and Summer School Breaks. We delivered 80 x 4 hour sessions of fun activity sessions in the home or in our community flat or outdoors in the park which provided 10 children/YP with stimulating activities keeping them active and engaged.
L is mum to 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys. Her youngest child, R, has been diagnosed with ADHD and autism for which he is medicated. L doesn’t get much sleep as R is up at all hours of the night, trying to get out the house to play, not having an understanding of time. L often finds it difficult to get R out and about due to R’s needs and having 3 other children to care for. Although the other children attend school full time, R has a reduced time table split between two schools who are also struggling to manage his outbursts as he has previously lashed out and ‘smashed up’ classrooms. L accessed our respite service for R where 2 carers were identified to best suit his needs and were able to manage any challenging behaviours. This support was intense and 2 respite sessions were provided weekly for R. The respite sitters focused their time with R getting him outdoors as this is what he loved. They would take him to Glasgow Green to learn how to ride a bike and he liked to support and encourage the other children at the park who were learning as the weeks went on. The sitters also took R to the swimming on a few occasions where they observed positive interactions with others his own ages within the pool and can see he was having lots of fun. During these sessions R told the respite providers that the loved going to the respite as it was so much fun. He felt safe and happy with them. His mum also observed a positive change in his behaviours before and after the respite. Mum mentioned that R spoke a lot about helping other’s learn how to ride a bike too and she could see how his confidence in communicating with his peers had improved significantly.
15 Carers will be have the opportunity to access other community resources or peer support groups during their respite sessions
80 x 4 hour home activity sessions and 80 x 5 hour Toffee Club Sessions – each carer received a different number of respite hours however most received approximately 10 periods of respite. 15 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 undertook wellbeing and counselling sessions.
T is a single dad to his daughter, D, who has a diagnosis of FASD, ADHD and Autism. In addition to this, D, has had a very traumatic past with her mum committing suicide, resulting is D being placed in the care system for 3 years. Followed by this was a year placed in an abusive kinship placement before being reunited and placed in dads care. Dad, T, finds it very difficult to manage his daughters behaviours and describes it as ‘full on’. T also has his own health struggles (Brain injury, severe mental health difficulties, Chronic COPD, alcoholism, and a heart condition) but due to his ongoing caring responsibilities for D he doesn’t often focus on his own health and well being and getting time to access support groups for himself. Due to D’s disabilities she struggles on a daily basis managing in school and so has a reduced part time table which she still finds difficult to maintain attendance. Due to this D spends a lot of time with her dad and is demanding of his time, therefore T is unable to focus on himself. On assessment T discussed our respite service to look after and support his daughter to allow him to attend weekly outings with his own support worker with a focus on supporting his mental health. This was something that was needed to help reduce stress and tensions within the family home. T accessed the sessions weekly allowing him to meet with his support worker and focus some time on his own health and well being. His support worker helped get him connected with local recovery groups to support him in abstaining from alcohol as well as accessing counselling sessions.
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
80 x 4 hour home activity sessions and 80 x 5 hour Toffee Club Sessions – each carer received a different number of respite hours however most received approximately 10 periods of respite. Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child was receiving the Toffee Club and/or 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.
SG is a mum of two boys, aged 7 and 4. SG works full-time at her husband’s business as well as caring for her 2 young sons. Most recently SG had been the sole carer and the sole earner as her husband had an operation on his spine and was bedridden for a number of months meaning she also had to care for her husband. This was an extremely difficult time for SG as her youngest son is severely autistic and suffers from ADHD and is non-verbal. Given this, he can be very difficult to manage and often has violent outbursts at times which she was having to manage on her own as her husband was unable to move from lying flat in his bed. SG’s time is often spent dealing with her youngest son as his needs are greater, this often means her older child misses out as he is able to manage. During our assessment I could see how much of an impact this was having on SG feeling quite emotional and extremely guilty but she felt she had no choice as she was living day by day to get by. She had no other family support to help in her difficult and demanding situation. The family members that were close by were unwilling to support SG as they felt her youngest son’s behaviour was too extreme for them to manage. With Geeza Break providing respite sessions weekly for SG’s youngest son, this gave her invaluable time to spend with her older son and growing their bond. SG described this as a miracle and that she prayed for the respite sitters who supported her and couldn’t thank them enough. She felt like a mum instead of a full time carer.
15 Carers and 10 children with disabilities/multiple support needs will have visibly improved their overall health and well-being
80 x 4 hour home activity sessions and 80 x 5 hour Toffee Club Sessions – each carer received a different number of respite hours however most received approximately 10 periods of respite. 15 Carers reported that their stress levels had reduced whilst their child received the Toffee Club and/or Respite Sitting Sessions and overall they had more time to themselves which overall improved their health and wellbeing. Also the 10 children/YP have been able to take part in fun and stimulating activities via the Toffee Club and/or Respite Sitting Sessions and overall have good fun which helped improve their health and wellbeing.
S is gran to 1 year old granddaughter, O, whom she has full time care of due to O’s parents having addiction issues. Due to this O has since been diagnosed with FASD as well as Autism. O due to her ongoing need’s does not sleep, continuously head bangs and hand flapping. This is quite distressing for S to deal with and watch on a daily basis, without taking in to account the difficulties arising from O’s age and stage. S has her own health concerns to worry about having been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia as well as Leukemia most recently. S contacted our organisation looking for support in the form of respite to give her time to focus on her own health and well being needs. O got access to our respite service for 9 sessions on a weekly basis. During the respite sessions S focussed on taking some time to herself being able to rest due to the fatigue she has been experiencing recently due to her health ailments and the fact that O does not sleep. S receives very little support from other family members so only gets time to rest and recover during the respite sessions. S said that the respite sessions gave her some time to rest and look after herself and was a ‘life saver’ as she felt better equipped to manage with O when she returned after using that time to have a nap and recharge. She has admitted that she would struggle to continue to sustain this Kinship arrangement without Geeza Breaks support and often worried about wether her grand daughter would end up within the care system. Whilst out on respite O was able to attend mother and toddler groups and experience local parks which isn’t often possible when in gran’s company, therefore these are new and exciting experiences for O.