Bolton Shared Care is currently seeking short break foster carers for a number of autistic children.
Carole Brennan has been a foster carer for more than 18 years, and during that time, has looked after a number of young people who are on the autistic spectrum.
She said: “I knew very little about autism when I first started fostering but have learned over the years, mostly by just spending time with children and getting to know them and what makes them tick.”
One young person on the autistic spectrum, a nine-year-old named Abigail, has been visiting Carole for more than six months and now visits regularly at weekends.
"Abigail was anxious at first and did really well to spend some time away from home,” said Carole. “It has taken time and patience to learn about each other but we are getting there and now have some really lovely times together.”
Abigail lives with her mum, Kathryn, and her brother and sister. The family very much appreciate having someone like Carole in Abby’s life.
“Although she is a much loved member of our family, Abby’s needs often come first,” said her mum. “By Carole caring for her, we can enjoy family activities that most people take for granted.”
Carole stresses that each child is an individual and the most important thing is to get to know each other well: "You have to learn to trust each other,” she said.
“When you see a child try a new activity or communicate something to you the pleasure is enormous. What seems to others like a small step can be massive for an autistic child and it makes all the hard work worthwhile,” said Carole.
Bolton Shared Care offers training, ongoing support and pays expenses. The next training sessions are due to start early next year. Ring any member of the team for more information.