Through the Carers for Younger Persons with a Severe or Profound Disability Program, a new initiative titled ‘It’s all about me’ is being trialed in partnership with Siesta Kids Camp.
The trial is the result of a service gap being identified by carers, who receive support through the Progam, which can lead to increased stress for carers. Some carers had expressed concern that the person they care for experiences social isolation after returning from school, on weekends and in school holiday periods. This leads to carers feeling greater stress and impacts on their role as a carer.
Working in partnership with the carers and Siesta Kids Camp, the ILC Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre established the ‘It’s all about me’ program.
The trial offers weekly respite for the carer for a 12 week period, during which time Siesta Kids Camp provides the opportunity for the care recipient to build new skills, confidence and forge new friendships.
The goal of ‘It’s All About Me’ is to support children aged 12 to 17 years with disabilities to develop their social independence, create new friendship groups and enable them to initiate and attend social activities independently or with minimal support. In the long term this has the potential to lead to regular respite for the carer whilst the person they care for is enjoying friendships and social activities.
The early response from carers has been overwhelming with many positive outcomes to date, with one carer commenting:
“We have completed two weeks so far and I am already feeling relief and look forward to a few hours respite each Saturday.”
The six week review also revealed a range of positive feedback from carers such as:
“I’m elated with my daughter attending the program. She is able to hang out with other girls and during this time I’m able to spend time with my son doing boy things. I’ve also made contact with another parent who has a child in the program and this is also a great support for me.”
“I’m happy to see my son doing something independently. He is really enjoying the program and it is great to see he has made a friend.”
The program will be evaluated by the ILC and Siesta Kids Camp to determine its success in delivering an alternative regular respite for carers.
The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide short term and emergency respite services to carers who provide unpaid support to another person on a regular and ongoing basis.
There are four respite programs coordinated by the ILC Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre North Metro – the Young Carers Program, National Respite for Carers Program, Severe or Profound Disability Program and Mental Health Program.