8 year old Carly, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, was referred to Welcare with her overwhelmed mum – struggling with 5 sleep deprived children in temporary housing. Lack of sleep was causing low moods for the whole family, it was a struggle to keep the children in school, and emotional and financial tensions were running high. After an initial 1:1 visit, we helped Carly’s Mum apply for benefits and get access to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), as well as sensory equipment for Carly.
Mum brought us to Welcare because we were having a lot of problems. We were living in a temporary flat, and I didn’t like sleeping upstairs, so she was sleeping on the floor in the sitting room with me. She just had a baby a few months ago, so we had the baby in a basket next to us.
Me and my brother were missing school a lot because we were so tired. The school was really far away too. We all argued a lot and when I felt stressed I would do things to try and hurt myself. I think it upset Mum because she didn’t know how to make things better.
When Sam from Welcare came I thought she was nice. She helped Mum sort out things like money for school uniforms, and got us tickets for bowling and the cinema. We even started going swimming with Mum.
The best thing Sam did was get us new beds and a weighted blanket which makes me feel calm. I got my own indoor tent, filled with pillows and fairy lights, and I can go in there when I feel overwhelmed. We’re all sleeping better now, and not fighting anymore.
Mum says she doesn’t know what she’d do without Sam, and I really like having my own private space. Things are much better now.
Carly’s family are getting on much better now everyone can rest properly in their own beds. The weighted blanket produces a calming, soothing effect that reduces anxieties, and the deep touch pressure helps with Carly’s mood as well as her sleep. Carly is attending a course of 12 play sessions with CAMHS where she can talk about her worries. She is no longer self harming.
Mum’s debts are under control, and the children are attending a school much closer to where they are living, which means their attendance has gone up. Welcare’s support with housing is ongoing, with attempts to secure the family more suitable lodgings.
The eldest child (14) is now registered as a young carer and is also receiving support so that she no longer feels overwhelmed. ‘I’m not sure how much longer we could have carried on if Welcare had not stepped in when they did.’
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