Fun times to build independence

By Luisa Bustos, 11 January 2019 , Comments

“I love the consistency of the Northcott Respite service. They've got the same support workers who have a good rapport with my son Max and are willing to push him beyond his comfort zone. Once he's there, he's as happy as a pig in mud.”

Fran’s son Max has autism and intellectual disability. He is non-verbal, has sensory, auditory and processing issues and some developmental delays. While he is able to do some activities for himself, such as getting dressed or eating meals, he needs assistance with grooming and personal hygiene, and he doesn’t interact to a great extent with other children.

For the past two years, fourteen-year-old Max has been a regular customer at Northcott’s Roselands Respite service, visiting for short weekend breaks every month or so to spend time away from his family and start to build his independence.

Although it took a serious illness for his mother Fran and her husband to be able to access a respite service initially, the pair had already started to think of ways to prepare Max for living in share accommodation sometime in the future.

“We were basically thinking of preparing him for when he leaves home. We thought by sending him to Respite he would be forced to do a few things for himself, interact with others, co-operate and try to communicate,” Fran explains, adding that her illness also forced the family to seek additional support.

Fran knows Max enjoys his time with Northcott and is pleased with the progress in his independence.  

“When he comes home, he is very happy. He is so relaxed and clearly has had a good time. He may even say the odd word, like ‘fun’.  The last time he went, there were boys there and they got to do boy stuff, so I think that was really healthy for him. And I think it gives him a break from us.

“He also seems to try and do a few more things for himself such as getting dressed or unpacking his bag. He’s also changed himself and cleaned himself up [without assistance]. The support workers are keeping them safe and boosting their confidence to do things which is great.”

Related content

Northcott also provides respite options for adults with disability. Read about Nathan’s stay at our Popondetta service in Bidwill, Western Sydney.

Respite is just as important for carers and family members.

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