Our son Nick is on the Autistic Spectrum. His behaviour is very challenging most of the time. He attended Cherry Trees for over 10 years and it’s become his second home – almost literally. He receives modest funding from SCC but the balance of cost is subsidised by Cherry Trees and he is a regular attendee.
Living with an ASD child places restraints on simple family life that often seem unimaginable to observers and makes Respite Care essential.
Activities like house work, decorating , gardening shopping etc simply can’t be done when you have to rewind the same video to the same spot 20 times an hour!!….or more
When Nick was at Cherry Trees we could tackle the most mundane and seemingly routine tasks uninterrupted – Before Cherry Trees I’d never thought how pleasurable cleaning the garage out can be!!!
We should also remember that the provision of Respite Care also allows parents to focus on brothers and sisters too, and restore some balance of attention to those youngsters who often can feel neglected as Mum/ Dad try to cope with challenging behaviour elsewhere in the family.
Cherry Trees staff and carers consistently go the extra mile for our children, delivering sensitive, individual – tailored and expert care to ensure that the stay is an enjoyable one and importantly, that we as Parents don’t spend our respite time worrying about how our child is getting on.
Indeed – with carefully coordinated timings we were able to take our first holiday for 6 years last summer. Even his 1; 1 carers – at some personal inconvenience I’m sure – altered their shift patterns to be there for him the whole of his 5 day stay which greatly reduced his anxiety levels. The carers are a well –led , young and dynamic bunch .
Incredibly inventive too – for instance, I recall on the Saturday evening of the World Cup Rugby final they bathed all the children early, got the dressing gowns ready and had bought some England bunting to decorate the TV room , and sausages and long rolls to make hotdogs and they had a World Cup party for 12 kids all round the TV!! -all for a budget of £8.00 I’m told!! What fantastic imagination!
It’s a real Home – from –Home and often delivers more fun with his peers than Nick can have alone at home with boring Mum and Dad!
When he stays at CT – it’s not like respite care -it’s like a big version of a mainstream kid’s sleepover! – and I know some of our Downs Syndrome kids just want to be there all the time so they don’t miss anything!
But we shouldn’t ignore the priceless role of CT in the local community.….
It performs vital work in supporting families from this area, who are trying to cope with the challenge of caring for children with challenging conditions.
Indeed, the cohort of youngsters coming through with Special Needs in Surrey is currently increasing rapidly and in future the local community is going to need Cherry Trees a more than ever before.