Learning new skills through Family Fund’s Summer School
Reuben’s mum, Jazz was concerned about the school summer holidays and the impact it would have on her son. “I was sort of dreading the summer holidays, and how the lack of routine would impact Reuben.”
Then, they found out about Family Fund’s Summer School, and decided to take part.
“It meant that we had something every week to look forward to, and helped us to maintain a kind of routine. I knew he would enjoy it, but it’s been a real surprise at just how much it brought us together.”
“Reuben has autism which was diagnosed quite young, and a few years ago he started to really decline developmentally and cognitively. They’re now looking into genetic testing for him, and he might be having seizures.
“He’s got very bad anxiety and is experiencing mobility issues too. There’s a possibility he has ADHD as well, so there’s quite a few things going on.”
Reuben’s condition has a big impact on him. “Largely, it affects his ability to interact with the outside world, and communicate and concentrate. Anything outside ends up being a no-go, he runs into danger and sensory overload.”
He is also non-verbal, which Jazz says people don’t always understand. “Just because someone isn’t communicating verbally, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be heard. Sometimes people don’t make an effort to hear him.
“It affects us quite a lot, as I can’t really go our and see people. It makes us very isolated and we can’t do a lot.”
Family Fund Summer School
“After talking to Family Fund, I realised that I could do the sessions with him, or on another tablet. That meant that if he didn’t feel up to it, I could learn the skills during the session and then teach him later when he felt better.
“We had one booked for nearly every week of the summer holidays, which meant that we had something every week to look forward to. It also helped us to maintain a kind of routine.
“Before the sessions, I didn’t really know a lot about the iPad as I generally just click on the same things like my emails and those kinds of things. But through this I’ve learnt a lot.
The content of the sessions also allowed Reuben to learn new skills that suited his abilities. “Reuben is unable to write, and is non-verbal, so he can get frustrated when he can’t express himself. Being able to express himself through pictures and arranging those into videos and collages has been really good for him and then other people can understand it too.”
Reuben has continued to use the skills he learnt. “We went to the beach the other day, and he opened up the movie making app and used some of the pictures I’d taken that day to make another movie from the skills that he had learnt. He added sound effects and everything too.
“It was interesting as he doesn’t usually instigate things, but he was very excited to do this. I knew he would enjoy it, but it’s been a real surprise just how much it brought us together.”
“It was nice to know that everyone on the video call was in the same boat, and we regularly saw families who has attended multiple sessions like us. It was more like we were all in it together, and it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.”
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