Something I’ve come to learn is, finding good support providers for autistic children. Is a bit like looking for the golden egg/fleece, or Poseidon’s Trident. Or whatever other mythical object you might want to find. We have been fairly lucky that Jack goes to a really good place for overnight respite, every other week. Finding a good service provider for weekly daytime respite, has proven a lot more difficult. We have gone through a few in our time, for a variety of different reasons.
The first provider we had ceased to exist due to lack of funding, so we moved to another one. Not long after the same thing happened again. The next one we had for a couple of years before cancelling only recently. They were okay, with 2 workers taking Jack out for 3 hours a week, which he really enjoyed. The trouble was, the turnover in staff was ridiculously high, which caused problems. As Jack would get upset when people would leave.
The staff also weren’t given any real training, and far too many times we were let down by people not turning up. Or cancelling at the last minute, which caused major problems. Telling an autistic child that their plan for the day has been changed at the last second, or 30 minutes after he was supposed to have gone out, which happened a few times. With no real explanation as to why to give him, is a recipe for disaster.
Searching for a new provider
With this in mind we have been searching for a new provider, for a while nothing was coming up. Then we were recommended a place, that sounded so perfect for Jack. A provider that could give Jack the 2 to 1 support he needs. They have their own centre, where Jack can go and do all sorts of activities. He can also mix with other autistic kids of his own age if he wants to, and he really wants to. He finds new people difficult and it will take time. They can also take him out into the community, and the big one is the service continues into adulthood. This is unheard of, I’ve never certainly never heard anything like this before. So we desperate to try and get Jack on their books.
We had the issue over needing funding increased to allow Jack to have 6 hours a week, to make it worthwhile. We got the funding in place, for him to go over the summer holidays. He went for the first time this Thursday.
Jack’s first visit
Jack is always anxious about going to a new place, even somewhere he is looking forward to going to. So we put all the ground work in, to make him as comfortable as possible. The people who were going to be looking after him, came to meet him. They showed him photos of where he would be going, and talked to him about what he likes, and what he wanted to do.
On the day, Jack’s support workers came to pick him up, and he was so excited he shot straight out of the door. I had to call him back, as he forgot his bag. It was a good sign that he was so happy to be going! He was really happy when he came home, and even brought home some homemade pizza for us to eat. And he had all our favourite toppings, Pepperoni for Mum and Lily, and vegetation for me. Which shows he was putting thought into what we liked as he did them, which is nice.
He talked all about what he had been doing, and how he met lots of new people. He said he can’t wait to go back next week, and even asked why he can’t go everyday. In the evening we did have a meltdown, which would have come from all the sensory input, throughout the day. He was fine again afterwards, it’s just one of those things. Jack will always have meltdowns. Hopefully when he fully settles into the routine of going there, he will be able to stay calmer.
Overall though, finding good support providers for autistic children, is no easy task. We are really pleased with the one we have found, especially as it’s not something that will suddenly stop when he turns 18. Which is what happens with his current overnight respite. We are a few years away from that yet, but it soon comes round.
If you want any advice about service providers, please feel free to ask. As always, thank you for reading.