Caroline and her family live in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. She has three children aged 20, 17 and 15. Her younger two have a variety of needs including, West Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and significant Learning Disability. Both children are members of the Stonehaven 12+ ASN Group which runs every other Saturday and on Thursday’s during school holidays.
The Stonehaven group supports children and young people from 5 to 18 and provides a variety of activities such as cooking, messy play and outdoor play so that the children can have tailored support in an inclusive environment. It also allows for the children to achieve their individual targets and outcomes as set by the staff team and their allocated social worker.
Flexible Childcare Services Scotland is the only organisation to provide ASN services in Caroline’s area and despite an extremely long waiting lists she managed to secure a space for her younger children.
“Until my kids started at FCSS we had zero respite time as a family. I had a break while they were at school but with no family around we never had any time as a couple or to spend with our older daughter. Even when family came to visit or we visited family the kids weren’t familiar enough to be left with them and I was really struggling mentally with never having a chance to do “normal” fun, family things.”
Thankfully when her children started at the Stonehaven Club Caroline was able to spend more time with her eldest daughter who was feeling left out due to the care requirements of her younger siblings. Thanks to the club Caroline was able to spend time engaging in 1:1 activities that her other children weren’t able to participate in – ice skating, swimming and even trips to the cinema.
“FCSS’s Stonehaven Club has made a huge impact in our relationships with our daughter, which was difficult in her preteen/teenage years. She really started to notice what she was missing out on and resented her siblings. By having 1-1 time she got the attention she was desperately needing.
“She is now a very caring, patient young lady and I do think us having that 1-1 time with her brought out the best side of her. Her relationship with her brother and sister is also very good now and she offers to help out with their care.”
The service continues to offer an invaluable service to families in the area, giving them respite that would otherwise be unavailable.
“Leaving ASN kids with anyone is very difficult but I feel very confident with the team at FSCC. They are very fun and enthusiastic and my kids just love them all. They get to spend time with friends, have space from parents and have fun all in a very safe and familiar environment.”