Ben* is 6 years old and has autism, ADHD and epilepsy. His parents have to work long hours and need help to care for Ben during the holidays. He enjoys going to holiday clubs but because of his challenging behaviour he can only attend with 1:1 support.
Ben’s parents needed direct payment support to pay for 1:1 assistance so that Ben could attend holiday clubs and take part in activities. The council said that it didn’t pay for ‘childcare’ and only offered 10 hours per week during the holidays at the standard hourly rate of £11.05. Ben’s parents knew that Ben needed more support at a higher hourly rate so that they could pay someone who had the right skills to accompany Ben to the holiday clubs.
After we helped Ben’s parents to complain, the council agreed to review what had happened and had meetings with Ben’s father. The council then agreed to increase the level of support to 45 hours a week for 8 weeks during the holidays at a higher rate of £16 p/h.
Ben’s dad told us a bit more about their story:
Our son is 6 years old and is a determined individual who knows what he wants, and what he doesn’t want to do. He has a vivid imagination, is very caring towards other children and would love to make a friend – he’d also love to have a dog!
Ben has Autism, ADHD, sensory issues and epilepsy. He has behavioural problems, and this can be very hard to manage. He is impulsive and can lash out which has led to him being excluded from activities at school and even expelled twice. An ordinary family life isn’t possible for us; we can’t take holidays together or even pop out for a coffee as things often get thrown around the coffee shop. At night he needs us to sleep with him and in the day he’s always full of energy – it’s impossible to wear him out. We both need to work and have no family support around us.
I spent almost a year seeking help from the council to have 1:1 support put in place over the holidays and after school but with no success. It was an incredibly long winded, frustrating process only to be told that we couldn’t have the support our son needed and was entitled to. It was then that I got in touch with Cerebra’s Legal Rights Service.
I found the service very effective and helpful, and it has made a significant difference to our quality of life. The team helped us to understand our rights and consolidate our issues into a letter of complaint to the council. They also gave me positive guidance over the telephone. Being dyslexic myself, it’s not that easy to write and summarise all of the issues and Cerebra really did an excellent job in helping me through this.
The complaint led to tangible action and a meeting with the Assistant Director of Children’s Services who agreed to the support package I was asking for. This will enable our son to attend holiday clubs over the holidays with 1:1 support. He will be able to safely enjoy all of the activities on offer as well as develop his social and emotional skills. It will also enable us to continue to work so that we can provide for our son.
Our son has begun to have his 1:1 support and it’s going well so far. I cannot recommend the service enough and I am extremely grateful for the help and support provided.
*Names have been changed.