One of the specialisms being developed within Amicus is around caring for children with complex and additional needs. We have worked hard to develop specific training, workshops and support strategies to cater for all carers who support children with complex needs. This may relate to young people with mild to severe learning disabilities, health conditions, autistic spectrum condition, processing difficulties, anxiety and sensory impairments.
We work closely with a DDP therapist and an occupational therapist to ensure we are coming up with innovative ways to support families within a therapeutic approach. We aim to have a good awareness of all the extra services that are involved when a young person has additional needs and aim to compliment the input from educational and health services.
We have a dedicated consultant available to visit foster carers and offer tailored support and provide resources for children with speech and language delay, social communication difficulties and sensory processing / regulation needs.
We have a developing sensory library packed full of useful toys and therapy tools that can be accessed by carers and children. We find this exploratory way of trying out new things with guidance can be an accessible way for children and carers to try new resources and strategies to achieving the ‘just right state’ of regulation.
The Just Right State Programme
The area of Sensory Attachment Intervention has been developed by Occupational therapists and leading figures on Attachment theory to address the sensory behaviours of traumatised children. This approach fits well with DDP and PACE principles and
helps us to understand that all behaviour is telling us about the experiences of the child and their attachment history. I have recently trained to practice The Just Right State Programme, which aims to increase co-regulation and development of self-regulation for our children, through the use of activities, food and enriched environments. When a child is able to regulate they are more likely to engage with others, achieve through learning, be reflective and build relationships.
Makaton Friendly and accessible information
At Amicus we are proud to be the only fostering agency in the country to be awarded as Makaton friendly! This means we strive to provide up to date training, accessible information in Makaton symbol format as well as being able to sign with our young
people. It helps that we have a Regional Makaton tutor on the staff team! Since July 2016 the law requires that all adult services provide information in a format that the service user can understand. Well we are taking our lead from here and
providing that same human right to our young people with all information being provided in an accessible format. The requirement could be Makaton symbols, Easy Read, Braille, Moon or something else. We feel it is our responsibility to meet the communication needs of young people and their families in order to ensure they have their voices heard.
In order to achieve this, our complex needs consultant will work closely with families to assess needs and provide specific tailored support.
Click https://www.makaton.org/blog/at-work/InclusiveAmicus to visit Erin’s blog on the Makaton Charity website.
Social stories and resources for children with speech, language and communication
Part of our commitment to meeting the needs of children with speech, language and communication delay and or learning needs includes providing the child with a coherent format that meets their individual needs, whether in the form of a respite guide, self-care support guide, preparation for contact with family or big events that can cause anxiety to practical routine and health and safety guidance. We use Makaton and Widget symbols as well as original illustrations for social stories. This tailored approach is unique to Amicus and something we are very proud of, recognising the value of helping every child to feel safe, no matter their level of need.