We picked up Joshua from his aunt’s yesterday afternoon after a great 24 hours apart, which felt much longer. This afternoon I am looking around an overnight respite facility, so respite might be like buses – nothing for months and then three coming at once, if we count his residential with school a few weeks ago.
I have been making some notes on what I might be looking for in a provider as it is more about the ‘feel’ of a place than anything black and white. Joshua’s previous residences were very different : the first was attached to his fist special school and while I fell out with the school , I always loved their residence which had a culture all of its own. It was a bustly place with dormitories and there was always something going on. Joshua was clearly happy there – the staff adored him and he felt the same. so it was a real sadness that we had to lose that provision when we changed schools.
It took some time to find an alternative once he changed schools but we did and although very different, it suited our needs perfectly : it was a smaller set up in a beautiful old house, so much less institutionalised than the first place. there were usually only 2 or 3 children staying on Joshua’s weekend but again , he adored the staff and they took him out and about to the pantomime, 10 pin bowling and to the seaside too. there was never the same bustle as there were fewer children but it was a very caring, homely atmosphere that we miss very much.
So what will this next option be like and what am I looking for this afternoon?
1. Kind, caring staff who will cherish my boy when he is away from me
2. Safe facilities that have considered secure exits, CRB -checked staff and downstairs sleeping accommodation wold be my top priorities
3. lots of fun activities planned so that his respite is not just about giving us a break, but for him to have fun too . they should have outside play equipment. I am not asking for a fun fair, with a Pirate ship ride in the garden, as Joshua is wary even of a swing, but he definitely needs some outside space to play in.
4. That the other residents are similar to Joshua in terms of needs : the staff should be familiar with epilepsy and giving emergency medication and that there should not be too many with sever behaviour problems that might frighten or endanger Joshua
As I say, it will be about the feel of the place more than anything, but I will let you know how I get on…….