Respite Services for Parents/Carers/Siblings and Children/Young People with Disabilities/Multiple/Additional Support Needs
A story by Geeza Break
TOFFEE Club and After School Activity Sessions providing activity based sessions for children with multiple support needs.
These services allows parents/carers time to themselves to de-stress, look after their own health, or spend quality time and focus on their other children and family members
What Respite Services for Parents/Carers/Siblings and Children/Young People with Disabilities/Multiple/Additional Support Needs did
Easter Toffee Club St Mungo’s: 5 children – 20 sessions x 5 hrs =100 hrs, Summer Toffee Club St Mungo’s: 5 children – 19 sessions x 5 hrs =95 hrs, Summer Toffee Club Croftcroighn: 9 children-32 sessions x 4 hrs=128 hrs.
October Toffee Club St Mungo’s: 7 children – 94 sessions x 5 hrs=470 hrs, After School Activity Sessions Croftcroighn: 10children -150 sessions x 2 hrs=300 hrs – 3-5 pm on Monday afternoons.
Play sessions were delivered from St Mungo’s Academy in the East End of Glasgow and Croftcroighn School which is a school for children with multiple complex needs. Staffing was going to be a challenge as some of the children have multiple complex needs that needed specialised training. After consultation with the head teacher at Croftcroign and the parents of the children it was suggested using staff at Croftcroighn, if available, as they know the children and are aware of their routines and needs as they work with the children on a day to day basis.
We advertised within the school, 10 staff members applied and we carried out an in-depth recruitment/induction process as the staff members would be our staff and not Croftcroighn staff. We also had meetings with the Mobile play team to discuss the activities and a programme was established. The number of staff available also allowed on-to-one attention: a necessity given their complex support needs.
Activities undertaken at all venues included arts/crafts, musical instruments, outdoor rounders, watering plants, cookie decorating, the mini bug/zoo, a puppet man. There was also access to a sensory room and soft play room. The break 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 etc. One parent attended a full-time education course.
What Geeza Break has learned
Our project proved very challenging not to mention a big learning curve for us especially working with such complex and multiple disabilities in children.
Through discussions with parents about their experiences it was highlighted that the lack of transport created difficulties for them trying to pick up and drop off the children. This has highlighted the real need for picking up and dropping of children by taxi is essential e.g. in one family, the Dad could not manage transporting his 3 children, plus his child who was wheel chair bound, to the TOFFEE club and after school activity club. Providing transport would have given more children and parents a more positive and stress free break