News & Events

Play helps develop speech and language for a family we visit

Jane
22.05.2019 - 10:58

Katie has two children under 5. Due to complex circumstances, the children have had some difficulty adjusting to family relationships and engaging with other children.

Their behaviour at home is sometimes difficult to manage. An Early Years Coordinator from Home Link visited the family, and spent some time getting to know them. The coordinator discussed a support plan with the family, and the family identified what was going well and what they would like to work on. They were then matched with a supportive volunteer.

The volunteer visits for 2 hours a week. Initially she spent time getting to know the family, and playing with the children. Once they were comfortable with each other, the visits developed to include crafts, and role play, as well as free play. The children and the volunteer use lots of imaginative play, which lets them practice interacting with different people and situations.

Katie is delighted and has really noticed a change, her own mood has improved and she says:  “Daniel always looks forward to the volunteer’s visits. It has really developed his confidence. He has developmental difficulties, and the time with the volunteer has really helped. His language skills have developed and he’s learned lots of new words“.

The visits will continue for 12 months.  The coordinator will continue to review the progress with the family, and develop the support plan to meet their changing needs.

Gentle help for a bereaved family

Jane
16.04.2019 - 13:48

A referral was made to Home Link Family Support by a Health Visitor who was concerned for a mum’s well-being as she would rarely leave the house and this was affecting her children. The family was allocated to our early years home visiting service.

The co-ordinator explains: I arranged to visit.  She began to tell me what had happened.  It was clear she was a very loving mother but she had suffered a lot. One of her three children had been lost in a tragic accident. The mother had withdrawn completely and had understandably not been well enough to face the world since then.

She  was soon matched with a volunteer who lives locally and they hit if off from the start. The volunteer visited each week for 2 hours and they developed a trusting relationship. Together they would chat and play with her youngest child and very soon they all began to go out together. At first they went on simple walks to local parks and then to the shops together. Everyone was delighted when mum took her first bus trip in three years with her volunteer and her little one, to Gorgie City Farm.

During the course of the match mum also moved house, which in her circumstances was a huge and difficult step for her to take as she had many memories attached to her home. With emotional support from her volunteer however, she did it. This has helped her to move on and also helped her eldest child because the new house was much closer to school and friends.

Now that the match has come to end, mum is comfortable  going out to new places with her youngest and is even feeling ready to return to work. No one can ever fully recover from such a tragedy but mum says that having a volunteer to take these steps alongside her has helped her to start living her life again.

 In our final meeting together mum said she now feels stronger, stating that ‘Home Link Family Support have been a wonderful support to myself and my children. I feel a lot more able and have more confidence in myself due to all the encouragement from my volunteer’.  

What is an Early Years Family Practitioner?

Jane
09.04.2019 - 15:58

As Early Years Family Practitioner with Home Link Family Support, people often ask me ‘What do you actually do?’

I provide a home visiting service to families with at least one child under 5 years & attending a Midlothian Nursery. I work collaboratively with the nursery head teacher & staff team to organise and/or support early learning & family learning opportunities. This includes toilet training advice, sharing books together, attending Child Planning meetings and group work.

My 25hr working week is flexible and varied. No two weeks are identical but typically include home visits to the families I work with, time spent in nursery, delivery of group sessions and admin time.

The other questions people often ask me is ““How are families identified & what do you do with the families you visit?”

This is varied, specific to each family and confidential. The families I work with have, through dialogue with key members of nursery staff, identified something which is presenting a challenge and may be having an impact on their child’s nursery attendance or on an aspect of their child’s well-being, learning & development.

When I initially visit a family, I spend some time getting to know the family and what they are seeking in terms of support. My role is to tailor my visits to what the family feels would be of most benefit. Mostly I work with Mum and the children.

Often, I visit regularly, engaging the children in early learning through play activities; I provide a listening ear for Mum – someone to share worries or concerns and bounce ideas off; together we discuss the everyday challenges of raising a young family and what strategies might help to improve a particular situation. This could be in terms of the daily demands of looking after one or more children under 5 years, establishing or improving family routines, parenting skills, managing challenging behaviour or helping Mum cope with anxiety, poor mental health or feelings of isolation.  

The period of time I work with a family varies, depending on individual circumstances and their wishes. I may work with a family for a relatively short period of only 3 - 4 months or I may work with a family for up to a year. In some instances, I work with a family as they prepare to leave nursery, over the summer holiday period and as the child begins and settles into Primary 1.

 

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