Respite Services for parents/carers/siblings & children/young people with disabilities/multiple/additional support needs
A story by Geeza Break
We delivered respite sitting sessions for children with multiple disabilities & additional support providing age appropriate learning, activities and personal development.
This service allowed parents time to themselves to de-stress, look after their own health, or spend quality time with other family members.
What Respite Services for parents/carers/siblings & children/young people with disabilities/multiple/additional support needs did
We have delivered 168 x 4 hour sessions of respite sitting to 13 children.
Children with multiple disabilities/additional support needs have been cared for in their own home by Respite Sitters. In general during respite the children have taken part in activities such as making music with musical toys, dancing, singing songs, jumping clay (unique, jasmine-scented polymer clay composed of non-toxic water dissolving fillers which mixes easily into any colour in the spectrum. It is mess-free and when rolled into a ball it bounces. This activity has been proven to have therapeutic benefits on our children and increases their motor skills)
Sessions included using sensory toys, reading stories, puppets, virtual play with toys e.g. playing with dolls, baking cakes, cooking, making lunch, snacks and jigsaws. The Respite Sitters have also been able to take some of the children on outdoor activities to local parks, museums and other free attractions.
The breaks meant that carers were able to have more time to themselves, relax, spend quality time with other children, had extra time to get daily tasks done, appointments taken care of. One parent used the respite time to get driving lessons and also take her test which she passed. One family used the respite times to go for meals together and another parent used the respite time to visit her dad.
One family used the time (2 parents and other child) to go to cinema and park and have quality time together, while other parents used the time to socialise, catch up with friends and go shopping, another parent was able to continue with counselling sessions as well as spending more time with her other 2 children who felt left out and this has improved their relationship.
There were aims agreed for the family to improve family relationships and 1-1 attention for L. The family received a fortnightly sitter service on alternate Tuesday & Friday as requested. Respite sitter was able to take L out to the local park which would have been difficult for mum to do due to his behaviour and the other children. On the walk to the park he was made aware of the green cross code and traffic safety.
The respite sitter played with him using a ball for is development of fine motor skills, played on the climbing frame which helped with the child’s coordination and gross motor skills. He was also able to interact with other children who did get to know him and accepted his difficulties rather than tease him. In the home the respite sitter played puzzles and memory game to help with his memory.
Outcomes were L received one to one attention increasing his social interaction, his social skills have improved, and he had the opportunity to experience good positive play activities while having fun. The whole family’s health and wellbeing has improved. The family’s relationship improved, parents were able to spend quality time with their daughter doing activities geared to her needs. L participated in a variety of different activities that encouraged play and share.
Aims for the family were to improve family relationships and the children to have 1-1 attention to encourage M through interaction, stimulation and play. For D and K to improve family relationships while engaging with mum and each other doing fun activities. The family received a fortnightly sitter service on a Saturday afternoon which allowed mum to spend quality time out with D and K knowing M was safe and having 1-1 attention.
Outcomes were that M received 1-1 attention increasing her social interaction. Mum, D and K child’s social skills have improved, they have had the opportunity to experience good positive play activities while having fun. The whole family’s health and wellbeing has improved.
Mum stated that the whole family’s health and wellbeing has improved she said they are communicating better as a family and engaging with each other more positively and it was great to do different things with the other 2 kids than just the daily caring grind that really helped her re-charge to carry on.
P requested the sitter service and asked if this could be provided on a weekly basis as she felt this would be more beneficial to her and L. Support Worker informed P that we had a respite sitter who also worked at L’s school and asked how she would feel about her coming to provide the sitter service and she thought this was a great idea. J (the sitter) is fully trained to manage children with multiple support needs and already had a relationship with L through school.
P had time to herself to re-charge her batteries and reduce her stress levels which will in turn improve her health and well-being. L had fun and experienced positive play. Outcomes achieved, P had the opportunity to spend time with friends and reduce her own isolation. This in turn helped reduce her stress levels and improve her health and wellbeing. L had lots of fun with J and as observed during a monitoring visit, he was clearly relaxed and comfortable with her.
Mum said – J was a blessing for my son and myself. Very capable, approachable and most of all FUN!