Case Study – flexibility helps families with additional support needs

Kerrie and her family live in a very remote community on the Aberdeenshire Moray border and there is very limited childcare options for her young children.

Her youngest daughter Tilly was diagnosed with a brain injury at 2 weeks old and the family were told that she would never walk, talk, eat or drink by herself. At almost 3 Tilly has a primary diagnosis of cerebral palsy which affects her mobility and motor skills.

When Tilly turned 2 the family approached a number of local nurseries but were met with silence once they disclosed that she had additional support needs, and that was before they had even explained what her actual needs were. Thankfully she was able to secure a place at Flexible Childcare Services Scotland’s Strathisla Children’s Centre in Keith.

Although the nursery isn’t funded to provide care for children with additional support needs, the service Manager Eleanor decided that Tilly should be given the same opportunities as every other child.

“I think it’s brilliant that Flexible Childcare Services Scotland have given her this opportunity. I can see first-hand the skills she has developed from being in the nursery, her social skills are brilliant now, her speech and language are amazing when you consider the extent of her brain injury and I definitely definitely believe that nursery has had a massive part to play in that.”

The nursey provides flexible booking options meaning that families can book childcare by the hour and are not fixed into set blocks of time. This has had a huge positive impact on the family as it has allowed Kerry to return to work and it also gives her some respite as 

Tilly needs a high level of care, and although she is very cognitively aware she has severe mobility issues and cant sit up by herself independently.

“The fact it’s flexible is fantastic cause we have lots and lots of doctor and hospital appointments. I think a lot of other providers should follow suit because it’s invaluable to parents to have the ability to book extra hours when you need them. I have a very busy and stressful job and again, having the flexibility to pop her in on a day where I have a mandatory meeting or if they change my hours for any reason is invaluable – I don’t know what kids like Tilly would do without a flexible setting. All in all, it’s had a massive impact on the family. It also means that I can spend time with her sister who is 4 years old and know that Tilly is safe, being nurtured and she’s learning and developing while I’m tasking that time with her sister, who, let’s face it doesn’t get the lion’s share of the attention because Tilly needs significantly more care than her.”