Paul’s mum has been registered as a carer with us for a number of years now. She cares for her youngest son John who is 9 years old and has profound Autism as well as a Learning Disability. When she heard about the Young Carer service that we were starting up, she referred her eldest son Paul who is now 12 years old.
“I need to help my Mum and Dad with making sure my brother’s OK and happy and also if my brother’s iPad is broken I need to help with it.”
Paul’s mum referred him to Carers Link as she felt he missed out on certain opportunities due to his brother’s health conditions which other children his age were able to do. She also spoke about Paul being very mature for his age and taking on quite an adult role when looking out for his brother. She was concerned that he might worry about things to do with his caring situation and felt he didn’t have any outlet for this.
Soon after he was referred, I went out to visit Paul at his home. We spoke over things and I made sure he knew exactly what type of support we might be able to offer him. After discussing it with him, we decided that he might really benefit from attending the young carer group which was due to start in a few weeks from then. Paul agreed that he would like to try this and didn’t feel he needed 1-1 support at this point.
Since then, Paul has attended all of the Young Carer groups and seems to really appreciate the chance to try out new activities.
“The thing I enjoy most is having the opportunity to talk to someone who is in the same place as me and I can be let loose and I don’t need to think about the stress at home.”
Paul is extremely knowledgeable on the topic of Autism and is keen to speak about his caring situation at any opportunity as he would like to inspire others to come forward for support. We have taken this on board and used his words for a variety of promotional materials including our Facebook page and Member’s newsletter.
Despite the challenges that caring brings, Paul is extremely positive about being a young carer and rarely dwells on the negatives of it.
“It has made me happier, kinder and more responsible.”