Carers stories – Pat and Georgia

Pat is a single mum who looks after her 14-year-old daughter Georgia and four-year-old son Max. Max has an undiagnosed condition. He is aggressive, impulsive, and highly sensory. He is unaware of any dangers; and day-to-day life caring for him is very stressful.

Ironically, before having Max, Pat worked in a children’s behaviour unit. But when she found herself facing similar problems at home it absolutely knocked her for six. She was unable to go back to work and she blamed herself for the way Max was.

She was unable to get professionals to take her seriously and to recognise that Max has an ongoing condition. When Pat was referred to a paediatrician she was sent on a parenting course. She felt isolated and desperate.

A friend told Pat about Carers Support Centre and when she contacted us she spoke to Judy, our Parent Carers Support Officer for Bristol.

Pat was experiencing extreme financial pressures and Judy helped her to apply for disability benefit for Max, which Pat didn’t know he was eligible for. Judy also helped her apply to the Family Fund, a charity for children with special needs, and Pat was able to buy some sensory toys for Max.

Judy regularly rang Pat to check how she was and whether she was coping OK. Over the school holidays she knew that Pat was struggling so she contacted her social worker to find out about respite help. As a result Max was able to attend a centre for children with special needs.

Pat said “Carers Support Centre has been absolutely amazing. Judy has helped me get my life back together. I was on my own, I was just struggling to cope on a day-to-day basis and couldn’t go out to work. She has been a lifesaver for me. And she has also helped my daughter.”

Georgia really struggles with her brother and a lot of the time she will simply lock herself away in her room. Judy referred her to our Young Carers Service. They were able to meet with Georgia’s teacher to put some support in place at school; and helped her apply for a carers grant to buy a camera, as she really loves photography. They are also making sure she gets some time out. She’s already joined in with a graffiti art project with other young carers, benefiting from peer support in a safe and accepting environment.