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My beautiful son Joseph, who is four years old, was diagnosed with autism in January 2016; he started at Kids nursery the following month. Kids special needs nursery came highly recommended by one of our health professionals. At this time we were under immense pressure as a family and I felt as though I was at breaking point. My husband had reduced his hours at work to support me and Joseph at home due to my mental health being severely affected with coping with Joseph’s complex needs and challenging behaviour and also caring for his three older siblings.
I tried to take Joseph to mother and toddler groups but he did not like them and would not play. I then knew we had problems and due to my nursery nursing background, I knew I could not send him to a mainstream nursery but we did not know at this stage that Kids’ special needs nursery even existed.
When we found out about Kids we had hope, and viewed it straight away. It was our light in darkness and Joseph had an opportunity to have the same learning opportunities that other children have.
Gemma and her staff were very professional, knowledgeable, caring and understanding. We had a home visit, “all about me” forms for Joseph and a flexible settling in period where we were involved, welcomed and reassured. At this stage we did not know how much support, help, advice and reassurance would be given to us.
To our amazement Joseph settled straight away, he loved his new nursery and carers. We were so happy for him. All his developmental needs are met as well as, his social and emotional needs. He has normal opportunities in a specialist environment to grow, develop, learn and to socialise where he feels comfortable and valued. Joseph has excelled while being there and we are so grateful and thankful.
He loves the beautiful, well equipped garden, the peaceful book corner looking at books, the weekly visit from the music therapy teacher and the wide range of activities and sensory toys. The nursery staff like to film and take lots of photos of Joseph, which is a lovely opportunity to see him in action and not miss those special moments. Joseph’s achievements and progress have been immense and wonderful, his behaviour at nursery has always been very good and balanced.
Joseph regards his key worker April as a family member and has a lovely relationship with her, and l know the other members of staff are also very special to him. His confidence and understanding of the world has developed and grown greatly. He also enjoys attending the short breaks holiday play schemes, which he greatly benefits from and so do we as a large, busy family. As parents the help and support we have received has been priceless. Any problems that we encountered were always addressed and supported in a professional and helpful manner. Our endless questions were always answered with patience and advice.
The help and support we have received with Joseph’s Education and Health Care Plan has been first class, we have been thoroughly guided, supported and reassured. A training course was organised and freely given to us to help with the understanding of the procedure.
To sum up this service I would say it is invaluable, a greatly needed service that reaches out into the community to help so many children and families. If we had not had this service available I would dread to think what would become of Joseph, me and my family.
The support from Kids has been life changing. It helped me regain my health, repair my family and build a good foundation for Joseph’s life. It has also given him a good quality of life with good opportunities to grow and develop as a well-balanced and educated child enabling him to become a valuable member of society.