A team of support workers help parents on a one to one basis and are available to any family caring for a child with an additional need in the Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross area. This may be a physical disability, learning difficulty, sensory difficulties, long-term illness or an emotional difficulty linked to the child's disability. Referrals are allocated to the most appropriate support worker who will make contact with the family as soon as she is able to offer support.
A support worker visits the neonatal unit at Ninewells hospital regularly each week to offer emotional support. She will continue to support parents once their baby has been discharged from hospital and help them to cope during the baby’s first few weeks or months at home. She can give advice about nurseries, information about local services that may help the family, introduce them to one of the support groups she runs and provide emotional support. She also provides bereavement or loss support for families who have lost a child or who have a terminally ill child.
Early Years Support
The early years support worker will support parents at home and at clinic appointments, provide information about play-schemes and respite services and provide advice about behaviour management. A large part of the early years support worker’s role is to give emotional support and help parents work through the difficulties of caring for a child with an additional need. They also run support groups for parents.
Support for challenging behaviour
Three early intervention workers provide help to families caring for a child whose behaviour is challenging and causing difficulties at home, nursery or school. They run a F.A.B. (Families Altering Behaviour) workshop which gives parents an opportunity to review and discuss their child’s behaviour and find ways to change it. Approximately five families are invited to each course with additional help provided on a one to one basis after attendance if needed. Parents are encouraged to meet after the workshop for peer support.
Support for parents of children undergoing assessment for ASD/ADHD
The support workers offer emotional support while the child is waiting to be assessed. For children displaying challenging behaviour the support worker will help parents to implement boundaries and strategies. They will accompany parents to assessment and feedback visits if required and if a diagnosis is given will help parent access other appropriate provisions.
Parents can need support as their children start school and move into high school. Different issues arise such as problems at school, an increase in behavioural problems or concerns about the child moving to high school. The support workers can help parents to liaise with schools, prepare them for meetings at the school and advise them about statutory and voluntary agencies which can give additional help to the family. They can also give advice about behaviour management.
Advocacy and support for children and young people with additional needs
Three support workers help children and young people with additional needs who may have worries about school, lack friends, suffer bullying or are struggling to cope with their difficulties. They may be worried about a move to another school or about leaving school and going to college or an adult service. The workers encourage the children and young people to talk about their concerns, go with them to meetings and appointments and help them to voice their views.
Communication & expectations course
This six week course aims to improve communication within families and is targeted primarily at families with young children. Two support workers help parents to reflect on their parenting style, identify the main difficulties and consider ways to improve their relationship with their children. This is run in partnership with primary schools when suffiicient families are identified.