John's Story

John's Story

John has a 21 year old son with Cerebral Palsy, read how Alice, his Short Break worker changed his life by encouraging him to go to college... Click Here

I'm John. I'm 45 years old, and my 21 year-old son Liam is Disabled. He has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. Once Liam reached 18 he had to leave school and attend a day centre for Disabled adults. He got frustrated that the others were all older than him and he had very little in common and very little to do.

Getting started

We heard about the Short Breaks Service from a friend when Liam was 19. Our first port of call was the website where we read all the information. This answered most of our questions and we rang the help line to get answers to a few more.

I work full time and felt that I could afford to purchase a few of hours a week for Liam, so we paid for the service directly.

We went through the booking system together and Liam was able to make most of the responses on the account profile using his adapted computer. I asked Liam what he was most excited about, and what he was most scared about. He was excited at having someone to be with, but didn’t know what he or she would be like and he was very nervous about how other people would react to him if he went out. He thought they would laugh.

Once we had registered, we were given details of two Short Break Workers who were available at the time we wanted, and we chose to book Alice. She was 18, a year younger than Liam, and attended the local college where she was studying social care to be a social worker. She enjoys being with people, never gets fazed at others attitudes and never has any pre-conceived ideas about how much or how little someone can do.

The first breaks

The first time Alice came round, she bought her iPod with a number of songs from Liam’s favourite bands on it. The ice was immediately broken with their shared interest in music, and she made Liam and myself laugh with her stories of college life.

Over a period of 3 months we booked Short Breaks every week. During this time, Alice collected information from the college for Liam encouraging him to think about what he wanted to do. Liam and I eventually went to see the college, and he looked at courses working with music and using the computer. In October, Liam started college doing a music production course. He became well known around the college and began to build his own social circle.

Alice eventually got a full time job in social care and gave up the Short Break Work. However, she is still in contact with Liam and texts him as a friend.

Judy's Story

Judy's Story

Judy is a single mother with two boys, Ben (7) has autism and epilepsy, and Jack (9) has Aspergers Syndrome. Read how Janice, their Short Break Worker has made a huge difference to all their lives... Click Here

Hi, I am a 33 year old single Mum with 2 very active boys aged 7 and 9. Ben has autism and epilepsy, and Jack has Aspergers Syndrome.

Ben & Jack

Both of my boys find it very difficult to cope with change and transition; they dislike people and noise. It's really difficult to go out, as Ben’s behaviour is erratic at best and sometimes aggressive. He has seemingly irrational fears and sometimes will hold onto a wall, door frame, or anything that's handy and won’t let go. Jack tends to go exploring and wanders off without me, and he's not able to see what might happen and think ahead. If something looks exciting he wants to be there.

Getting started

I really needed some support when I heard of Short Breaks, but initially I wasn't sure. I didn't think that a Short Breaks Worker would understand my children and my world.

I needn’t have worried. After I had spoken to KIDS and chosen them as my provider, I checked with my local Children’s Information Service and my local authority had agreed a contract with them for Short Breaks. During my next Family Case Meeting I brought up the subject of Short Breaks and was delighted to find out that the Local Authority was willing to pay for 3 hours per week for Ben. I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to use the Short Break for and understood that the Short Break Worker was there to provide support for Ben.

When I completed the account profile for Ben I was totally honest. I thought if someone is coming to help, they'd better know what they are letting themselves in for! I explained about Ben’s communication and Jack's tendency to run off.

I looked at the Short Break Workers profiles and requested Janice. When she came over for the first short break, she had obviously read the profile because she brought a Thomas the Tank Engine book for Ben, who immediately became her friend, and for Jack a pack of stamps to sort through. Janice and I had a coffee and she was understanding, asked lots of questions and told me about herself and her family.

The first breaks!

For the first couple of Short Breaks we decided to stay in and play with the children. Janice was great at getting Ben’s attention and, through the PECS system, was able to get him to choose some activities. Sometimes they watched a video together and, at one point, she got them both mixing cake mixture and making cakes! It was Ben’s time, and it allowed me to spend my time with Jack.

Just this week, I left Janice at home with Ben for the first time. Jack went to a friend's, and I went to the hairdressers! I can't remember the last time I was pampered! I was so confident in Janice’s support, I felt I could leave Ben and not worry.

John's Story

Sienna's Story

Hi, my name is Sienna and I am 13 years old. Read about what I like to do with my Short Break Worker Diddy... Click Here

Hi, my name is Sienna, I am 13 years old.

I have Diabetes and had to have both of my legs amputated. I have prosthetic limbs and can walk, but not for long distances. My friends go out dancing and to youth group.

Mum is a bit scared of me falling over and doesn’t want me to go to youth group although I would really love to. She cannot go with me because she needs to look after my 2 younger brothers.

I have just met Diddy, my Short Break Worker – she is great, she laughs loads and does not mind my legs. She bought a really good jewellery making kit over and we made bracelets. I made some for my friends.

Diddy stayed for 2 hours, she asked me what I wanted to do in the future and we had loads of ideas. She is making a scrap book with me of the types of things we can do and has promised that we can put photo’s in once we have done things together.

I chose Diddy as my Short Breaks worker over the internet, I filled out an account profile along with my Mum, it was a form all about myself, what I like to do and things about my family. Diddy did a form too and she likes lots of the same things. She is 20 and has her birthday in the same week as mine. We are going to make a cake together.

Mum says once Diddy has been here a few times Mum might let her take me to youth club, I have put it in my scrap book that I want to do that.

I really like Diddy.