Ben was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old and has a number of other complex health needs, including Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). Ben displays behaviour that could challenge people around him, and can also find communicating his needs difficult.
“ Before Nurseline Community Services started working with us, Ben had no support package in place. Ben’s school was struggling to understand his behaviour, meaning they weren’t providing him with the support he needed. This made it increasingly difficult for Ben and eventually he left. The pandemic then hit us and we were stuck at home. Ben did not leave his room for 18 months: his anxiety went through the roof and so did his behaviours that challenge. As his mum it was heart-breaking to see. I felt powerless, as I just did not know what to do to calm him down and help him.
Things reached crisis point earlier this year, when I could not manage Ben’s behaviour that challenges anymore. I’m a really resilient person and will fight to the hilt for Ben, but I reached such a low point and did not know how we would carry on. Our Social Worker looked into getting us a support package at home, and that is when Nurseline Community Services came into our lives.
Alfie and Tunde (Ben’s Support Workers) arrived for their first shift and spent the first morning sitting in the car, as Ben would not have them in the house at all. It went on like this for a while and they patiently waited and gave Ben the space he needed. From the outside looking in it may have looked like they were not doing much, but Ben really struggles with new situations and people, so it’s important not to rush things. Alfie and Tunde understood that from the start. Building up that trust and relationship takes time, but it laid the foundations for where we are now.
A few weeks into supporting Ben they were able to come into the house almost straight away. I have to admit that at first it was odd having strangers in your house, so it was an adjustment for all of us, but I could not have hoped for things to have gone better. We have all bonded and I feel like we have become a family. I have learned so much from Alfie and Tunde and vice versa – and most importantly Ben is thriving.
Now that Ben has built that relationship with his Support Workers we go out on trips. We even managed two in one day which would have been unheard of before! It also means that I can get out of the house and have a bit of time for myself to recharge my batteries. Alfie and Tunde have started to do some gardening with Ben every so often too. They put him in charge so that he works out what needs to be done and then tells them what to do. It makes Ben feel like he’s part of a team and he wants to get involved.
Since Nurseline Community Services have been supporting Ben, his behaviours that challenge, have significantly reduced. His Support Team are teaching him to take responsibility for himself. The other day Ben apologised to Alfie for something he had said to him earlier. He had a bit of time to reflect and realised that he should not have said what he said. Rewind a few months and there is no way this would have happened. I am so happy with the therapeutic relationship they have and how Ben responds to this.
I am so proud of what Ben has achieved so far. I know I’m his mum but he’s an articulate boy (just ask him about Warhammer!) with so much to offer, and I don’t want to see that go to waste. I know that there are still challenges ahead but I now feel Ben is facing a brighter future. That’s all I want for him.
Alfie and Tunde are a credit to Nurseline Community Services and I am grateful for everything they have done. ”