What are your names and how long have you been fostering?
Janet and Joe, and we have been fostering for 10 years.
How many placements have you been involved with, and how many of these have involved caring for a child or young person with additional needs?
We have been involved in in 6 placements and 2 of these involved children with disabilities. One was autistic, and the other was a little girl with a rare syndrome who presents with severe complex needs.
Have Nexus Fostering provided you with, or supported you in, any specialist training?
To look after the little girl, we have, as a family, undertake epilepsy training which involved a day session with an epilepsy nurse learning about types of seizures and specific training around administering emergency medication in the event of a seizure.
We have training around hoisting and moving as the girl requires special equipment as she has grown while she has been with us, so these needs have changed.
Learning how to use additional equipment to promote her wellbeing, such as a standing frame to build up her core muscle strength.
What sort of challenges have you faced as specialist carers and how do you cope with them?
Coordinating and attending the medical team and appointments can be challenging and you need to be able to work with professionals to achieve the best results for the child.
Planning is so important. Plan your diary, and plan your time, share the responsibility, and ask for help when you need it.
What did you find most rewarding about fostering?
Its lovely when they achieve the smallest of achievements. For them it is massive. For instance, clapping hands for a child of 5 without additional needs is easy, but when you have very complex needs clapping your hands is hard work and it takes a lot of work and effort to support that child to achieve that. What is small for a regular child is massive for these children.
What is your fondest memory from one of your placements?
When she smiles at you and acknowledges that she recognises you. There’s no words for that.
What is the main message you would like to get across to someone who is learning about fostering for the first time?
Think outside your comfort zone and look at what you could cope with. Most people can look after children with special needs, you just need to do your research. All children, whether they’ve got special needs or not need to be cared for. They need to be loved.
If you think you could offer a stable home and a loving environment to a child, with our without disabilities, please call us on 0800 389 0143.