We caught up with mum Joy to find out why LinkAble is such a vital service for her son Howard.
My son Howard is five years old, and he started coming to LinkAble nearly a year ago. Howard is autistic and non-verbal, and he attends a special needs school.
Like many parents, my husband and I don’t have enough leave from work between us to cover the school holidays. But unlike most parents, we can’t use a mainstream holiday club or childminder for childcare, as they cannot meet Howard’s needs. If we didn’t have somewhere like LinkAble to take care of Howard, then I don’t know how we would cover childcare in the school holidays – I would probably have to leave my job so that I could look after him.
Although Howard can’t talk or tell me what he thinks of LinkAble, when I tell him it’s time to go to LinkAble he always gets into the car happily and is happy to go in, so I’m confident that he feels happy and safe there. When I drop him off and pick him up the staff always seem very enthusiastic and they tell me what Howard has been up to.
I have been impressed at how much effort is made to make the sessions interesting for the children, with both on-site activities and trips off-site, so we feel that it’s a place that’s good for Howard’s development and not just somewhere to put him when we’re busy with work.
Because of this, we have started to put Howard into some of the Saturday sessions as well as the school holiday ones. This allows us to take our daughter out to some nice places that we would find it difficult to take Howard to. It’s really valuable for us to have some more relaxed time with our daughter, and we don’t feel guilty about putting Howard in LinkAble because we know that he will be well looked after and there will be lots of activities for him.
We made a donation to LinkAble, as we only pay £29 a day and I’m sure it must cost more than that to run. I feel that since we are using the service, we should give back a bit, if we can.
Being a parent of a special needs child is very demanding and challenging, and it’s a great encouragement to know that LinkAble are making an effort to support us.
If you would like to help us support more people like Joy and Howard, please consider making a donation.