We Too! predominately empowers families in Aberdeen that are affected by hidden disabilities, namely autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, generalised anxiety within children. Many negative behaviours that we can see during this time, is often anxiety driven behaviours which is escalating during this current pandemic and the lockdown/shielding situation many of these families are currently dealing with.
We Too! received £1,500 to provide sensory equipment for families with children affected by hidden disabilities, ADSD, autism and anxiety. They supported 15 families who were experiencing child on parent violence, who feltparticularly isolated during lockdown, with reduced access to support and activities leading to increased episodes of episodes of children hitting their parents/carers or destroying their environment aswell as self-harming.
The support has been invaluable to be able to support families who all too often are feeling lost in the system and fearful to reach out at all as there is a very strong distrust of social workers given so much negative press lately. By providing a non-judgemental and confidential service, this is allowing families to be able to seek support and assurances that their experiences are not isolated and we can offer some tools and techniques to help them during these very difficult times.
As a side-story, with one teenage boy – we have been able to access an empty garage and several boxes of old glasses and plates. He can access this space to smash them up and then clean it up once he is done. The violent outbursts towards his mother has reduced to zero in a month!
I think the more we are reaching out, the more we are discovering as this really has been a very much under-reported and shameful experience for many families. It was interesting to see that national news covered the very subject last week on the back of the publication of the Experiences of Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence in the Covid-19 Pandemic report.
We can see an increase of around 22% in these incidents in our local community. Furthermore for families that report their violent outburst in fact decreased during lockdown as many anxieties and sensory overloads were removed – there is now the fear this will come back worse as children are being integrated back into school, but with many new systems and procedures in place to help protect them can cause them to overload and react once back in the safety of their own home.
Within the report, it was interesting to see comment from Professor Condry that child to parent violence “has tended to be a ‘hidden’ form of family violence, both by families who experience stigma an the shame for the actions of their child, and because of a lack of recognition in government policy and service planning, it is often the ‘poor relation’ in family violence”. We are grateful the LP Fund could see the importance of this project and allowing families to be able to empower and support their children to direct their overloads in a safer and less violent episodes.
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