Claire’s story

Claire was a victim of domestic violence and as a result has suffered a life changing condition resulting in her no longer having the same capacity to take care of herself and her family in the way she used to. This has led to the children being removed from her care temporarily. Claire has been known to ASC services and has been struggling with custody over her children since. Currently the children are in temporary foster care – where the greatest chance of Claire being reunited fully with them is for her to move into a supported living facility with the children, where they can be better supported.

When Claire first started coming to the service, she couldn’t go anywhere on her own – not even to the corner shop. It took a very long time for the Independent Living Skills Officer to build trust and support Claire to attend her initial meetings and discreet assessments and start to develop an action plan together. Once Claire started to ‘open up’, she told PAGE about her barriers such as keeping a clean and tidy home, money management issues and reading letters. Food safety and safe cooking results in the home were a real barrier.

Claire has not been taught independent living skills growing up due to her parents own learning gaps, and she struggles with many of these basic things we all take for granted each day. Claire is loved by her family but needed training and rapid support to get herself safe and in positive relationships and create a safer home environment where she is in control and the children’s needs are being met. For example, she had pets but did not understand basic hygiene and cross contamination, so we used paint to demonstrate how germs are spread by putting paint on our hands and moving around the kitchen doing everyday tasks. Claire was supported to ‘see’ the germs and cross contamination. This was a fun experience that led to her opening up about some desires to learn more about cooking. She was referred to Ideal for All’s Growing Opportunities project and joined the cooking and gentle gardening groups on a Wednesday. This helped with her skills but also her wellbeing and mental health discreetly. Here Claire extended her knowledge about cooking and safer food results at home. She also became part of a welcoming group who made sure everyone washed their hands every week before, during and after the session! Claire loved the group so much she started growing her own strawberries, tomatoes and flowers at home. Claire even picked strawberries and brought them along to her visitation meeting for the children!

Claire also did not have many of the home comforts one would expect to see such as carpet on hard concrete floors and did not understand why this would not be a suitable environment for children. Our ILSO supported Claire through practical help such as working together to develop a cleaning schedule in full colour and laminated so Claire can use this independently moving forwards. This is really working well and is helping to achieve those small, short term ‘wins’ that Claire needs right now, in addition to forming routines as the ‘norm’ and keeping to a schedule. Her home is cleaner, safer and more managed, which has made her feel so much better. She has made friends and talks to others in the support group at the gardens. Working with the ILSO her confidence has grown, and her trust is starting to rebuild. She is communicating as an adult with others in her life when she needs to, and not relying on others to communicate for her. This has enabled her to get things done such as having the windows and doors replaced after living in a draughty property for many years.  

Claire felt very guilty and had separation anxiety about being apart from her children – naturally. She started spoiling the children a lot and was getting herself into a lot of debt by spending on expensive gifts as a result of guilt in not seeing the children. Here we aligned with the other agencies in her life to support proper boundaries with the children. Claire had already done parenting classes; however, the ILSO used this learning opportunity to ‘circle back’ and compound that learning. ”. The ILSO helped Claire to go back to what she has already learned and put this into practice e.g., healthy boundaries for children, showing love in other ways, safe and responsible discipline. Through conversations like these, it is clear there are gaps in local provision for LD people as the pace of learning is so different and they need to experience this learning in their home setting to put into practice themselves and not in isolation.

I had to learn a lot in a short time at parenting classes, I had so much to take in. I can’t remember all of it. I was too upset with everything going on.

To support Claire to develop skills for life in other areas she has also been supported to access a college open day to enrol on numeracy skills support and literacy courses. This is because Claire wants to understand her money, her letters and help her children when they are getting a bit older. “I don’t want my children to be made fun of because I can’t read and write as their mum.” This is very empowering for her, and she attended the enrolment on time, travelling alone and meeting the ILSO at the college for the assessment. Claire is travelling independently and is uses public transport instead of taxis which is saving her lots of money and growing her confidence. Through the travel training support from the ILO, she has reduced her anxiety and can control this by self-manging this and calming herself. Claire is delighted to be out on her own and getting to where she needs to be!

“Before I became a part of the page project, I really struggled and felt that I am all alone in my situation. I felt that I had no one that was listening to my wishes and what I want as a mom. Everything was just based on the children’s workers and what they wanted. Now I feel that I have someone that is listening to what I want.”

Delivery Partners

Parents Advocacy, Guidance and Empowerment (PAGE)

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The PAGE project supports parents with learning disabilities and/or autism who are subject to, or at at risk of interventions from Children’s Services. We offer independent advocacy and independent living skills training, providing one-to-one support which is bespoke to the individual. Eligible parents can access one or both services to suit their needs, and their situation.

Project Funded By:

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Our partners

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