Client Support Service
Jenny makes a time to meet with all new parents of children at Little Citizens and recently met with a mother whose child has some developmental difficulties. The family are from overseas and English is their second language. Both parents were happy to meet and Jenny engaged primarily with the mother. She completed the PCOMS Outcome rating scale and scored 23, which is just below the clinical cut-off and she had low scores on the Individual well-being and social scales, with a higher score on the scale relating to family. When asked she said she feels supported by her husband and family but she struggles with her daughter’s difficult behaviour and would like to know more about how to help her. She has few social supports and feels awkward socially because her English isn’t good.
We discussed some strategies she could use to help her daughter with her behaviour and one of the ideas was contacting the Family Network to meet other parents who understand her situation. Making the first phone call was difficult for her as she did not feel confident, but with support and encouragement she called and left a message asking someone to contact the family. Jenny also showed her some information about free English language classes for immigrants. With further discussion it was thought that Autism New Zealand may have some useful resources to help her daughter, for example, with toilet training, and she left a message for them.
Jenny visited the client again two weeks later and she said that the strategies with her daughter were helping and she had made contact with the Family Network and Autism NZ and had arranged meetings. She appeared more confident and scored 30 on the PCOMS outcome rating scale, with her scores fairly even across the measures, indicating an improvement in her personal well-being and her feeling of social support.
Client Support Service
It is interesting to note most people have the ability to know the solution to their problem, but are unsure how to negotiate the pathway. Prior to Christmas, Sharon engaged with a family assisting them to negotiate the legal system so they could support a young person to stay out of prison.
This was a huge task, and placed particular stress on both parents and siblings. At the initial meeting they discussed how having a son in jail impacted on their lives, both emotionally and socially. Sharon asked “What would it take to keep him out of jail?” Has anyone asked him this question? How would he see his life if he was to stay out of jail, what would he have to do?
Sharon made contact with this family after the Christmas break, to find that their son was making progress; he was working part time, had a CADs worker, and had stopped associating with his former girlfriend and her friends.
At his request the family had stopped lending him money, which reduced his access to the substances which led to his offending. This is an example of a family who have the tools to help their son, but needed to know where and how to start.
Beyond 10 Streets
It was good coming back to community of the Take 10 Streets Project after the Christmas break, although there are many residents I haven’t met yet there was a welcoming feel. In my first walk of the New Year I was welcomed back not only by residents I see on a regular basis but by the DX delivery lady, the postman, people who frequent different groups at the Hub. I engaged with two previously unknown ladies who told me they see me walking around the 10 streets on a regular basis. I was able to tell them about the Hub, the project and my role. Both ladies will now talk to me on a regular basis; one in particular has been talking to her friends about me and is trying, with her neighbours, to get together a collection of things to donate for the free tables.
One of the loveliest things I observed happening was in Navy Park. A Dad had taken his three children out for a game of cricket the last week of the school holidays, it had been appalling weather, he told me he had taken the week off to spend it with his children and they hadn’t been able to do much. As there was a break in the rain they had run to the park and began a game. As I was talking to the Dad another child came up and asked if they could join in, then another and another. Before he knew it he had around 12 children playing cricket ranging from around 5 – 12 years of age. That game of cricket was still going an hour and a half later, the Dad and all children looked as if they were having heaps of fun.
Through having regular visits to Bathgate Park schools Little Stars programme on a Wednesday afternoon I have noticed the children's ability to walk further and with more ease increased dramatically from the first visit where we had no sooner left the centre that the children were complaining that they were tired and needed to stop. Now they walk with bounce only focussing on the end of the trip where they get to stop at the fourth tree down Oxford Street to have a snack on the way home after their trip. This was made more meaningful as a child who used to arrive at preschool in a pram, due to being a ‘handful’ when walking to preschool, is no longer requiring the pram giving him the sense that he is just as big as everyone else and reducing the tantrums when leaving the centre. Helping to ground in and set high expectations with the child that he can do it.
We have been busy in recent weeks in the Kiwi Room, with often two new children starting and settling in each day. We support their settling process by developing a sense of Mana Whenua - Belonging, through establishing regular routines such as meal times and mat time, and developing their familiarity by repeating favourite songs and stories.
We have family photos displayed on our photo wall, which the children recognise and share with us, building connections for them with home, family and Centre. We explored our cultural heritage and celebrated Waitangi Day by exploring the koru through creativity - in collage, and playdough. Through these experiences the children develop their fine motor skills, for example learning how to control the movements of their arms, wrists, and fingers to roll out the playdough into long rolls.
With Sea Week approaching we will extend our creativity and art experiences and continue to explore the koru, which reflects the curve of the waves, and spirals of sea shells.