Yesterday we had a home visit from two ladies , a team leader and key worker, from what is going to be Joshua’s overnight respite provider. They wanted to see him in his home environment and he gave them a big grin as they arrived and were surrounded by our over-zealous dogs. I was very impressed by how they engaged with Joshua and the range and depth of relevant questions that they asked in order to get to know him. They wanted to know about what he likes to eat and drink, what activities he prefers or hates, his bedtime routine, his breakfast preferences and how he responds to others and to change. I insisted that, unlike many of their autistic young people, Joshua is incredibly laid back and accepting – I would be shocked if he did not settle in as he loves people and attention so much.
They also asked all about his medical needs – the nature of his seizures, his medication, his helmet and his rescue medication. Clearly that is something that they need to be very clear on from the outset. They wanted to check on my attitude towards him going out of the building on trips, even if it just a walk into town to enjoy the buskers and to get a drink. At this point I stressed my mantra, ‘just keep him safe and happy’ – and by happy I mean, let him access all the activities by taking relevant safety precautions, so that he can do so safely.
I have a really good feeling about the staff and the facility, it is geared up to teenagers like Joshua so he should have three years of enjoying this service, before he is considered to be adult so will no longer be eligible. My only disappointment is how long it will be before he will have overnight stays as they have planned a phased introduction – we both visit for tea in September, then he stays all day in October, then one overnight stay in November and only by December, will he get his full weekend! Given what I know about how adaptable Joshua is, I do not think he needs to move that slowly but perhaps they do, as there is a mountain of paperwork and consent forms to complete.
What is for sure is that I felt even better about my choice of respite provider after yesterday’s visit and I am itching to get underway.