Family Intensive Support Service (FISS) Days
Life More Ordinary Grant Scheme:
From the Short Breaks for Disabled Young People fund
This project allows the most challenging young people on the CAMHSLD/FISS caseload, for example those have the least opportunity to attend events and experience normal life and have normal children’s experiences, the opportunity to experience a relaxing, fun and affirming day together with their whole family (siblings included).
Through the activities offered we also want these young people to experience something new and maybe to discover skills they didn’t realise they had.
Due to the high level of support given by two groups of staff that have undertaken joint training (CLR and CAMHSLD/FISS) we want to offer appropriate risk taking experiences which these children rarely if ever get, such as fire lighting or working with tools. (Risk assessments are completed for the activities).
Each woodland day is different but generally includes:
- Making a fire, learning how to light and tend it and then cook on it
- Engaging in woodland crafts such as learning how to use a saw or palm drill. Making necklaces, animals, dream catchers etc
- Playing games that focus on sensory needs through swinging and rope activities to sensory trails, to feeling leaves and playing with clay
- Singing together. We have found that music works very well in settling the groups into a new space and each other. We bring drums and hand percussion.
- Head Massage
- Discussion about the support being received by CAMHS LD/FISS and whether this is helping or not.
- A great deal of peer support happens as parents mingle and share stories and the young people themselves explore meeting other young people, singing together, cooking together.
- For the children and young people we work with, establishing a relationship with anyone outside the family is very challenging. Being together in the woodland allows them to explore these social connections at their own pace. They can slowly move away from the family and engage with other members of staff. During singing and craft circles they begin to hold eye contact with other young people and sometimes begin engaging.
Thoughts and Reflections by Fran Warry - a parent (October 2014)
When you look back over your family life, you have wonderful memories that make you smile and glow.
All these memories make you remember how much you love each other; it re-affirms your relationship, how much you care for each other and it makes you stronger and more able to cope with good and bad times in your relationship. These are the building blocks of family life, which is essential, to well being.
My wonderful little girl has complex health needs, mobility issues, severe learning disability autism and behavioural issues. I look back over our lives together and my outstanding memories are connected with fear, worry, panic, uncertainty, frustration and sorrow and having to share my baby with many professionals.
Then there were the Woodland days
1. It’s peaceful, all my family are there and happy and engaged at the same time.
2. There is space, massage, food
3. There are other families that have children who are challenging
4. There are activities – activities which we could all participate in; activities that I did not think my daughter was capable of, but we all cheered her on and she loved it (she sawed wood and made a woodland animal)
5. It is safe and well organised
6. All the helpers are very friendly; having a family worker from CAMHS LD/FISS was brilliant, as she helped with communication, sensory input, taking my daughter for a walk if she got over stimulated; but that help was fantastic as it gave me enough breathing space to begin to relax, not always watching her, being able to join in myself, being able to communicate with my son and husband and participate with them and be more relaxed. This meant there was no pressure points, no arguments, we were just a happy family; it made me feel empowered to carry on and be a Mum.
If the family are enabled and empowered to have a family life, everyone’s quality of life improves; coping skills improves; desire to care improves.