Sara Case study

Sara is a 31 year old single parent with a physical disability. She has  a 6 year old son Michael  who has autism. Sara was having problems with managing Michael’s behaviour at home and was also experiencing difficulties with her finances and housing.

Sara had limited social networks and only had her mother who provided her some support at times.

Sara became aware of Welcare, through a member of her church who provided her with a Welcare leaflet and prompted Sara to contact Welcare directly to enquire about services available.  

Sara referred herself to Welcare to get some support with managing Michael’s(10 years old) challenging behaviour and some information on budgeting and managing her finances.

On the Family Support Worker’s initial visit Sara we used the family star tool to assess the areas in which she needed the most help.  Sara identified that she needed most support with home and money, physical health and behaviour and boundaries. This provided the basis for a family plan of support and clear objectives to be reviewed at the end of the family support intervention.

The FSW provided Sara with an intensive 6 weekly sessions of parenting support, where Sara was offered parenting skills training with particular focus on implementing positive disciplinary strategies with her son and providing clear and consistent boundaries. By the fourth session Sara had demonstrated some of the improvements made in her parenting style and had reported that she felt more confident in her parenting skills overall. The last two sessions were primarily focused on home and money. Sara was able to access additional benefits. By the end of the parenting programme Sara reported that she felt more confident and could see that there was a positive change in Michael’s behaviour.

Sara was also referred to a parenting support group for parents with children with autism. Sara felt that this also helped her to manage Michael’s behaviour more effectively.

 Sara also identified that she was experiencing financial difficulties. The FSW used an income and expenditure tool to see if there were any ways in which she could save money. We also went through an online benefit eligibility form and it became apparent that Sara may be entitled to claim an additional benefit due to her physical disability. One of our family support volunteers assisted her in filling out the form and she was awarded the benefit which reduced the financial strain that she had been experiencing.

Sara’s confidence has now improved and she now takes part in a forum for parents of autistic children and her social networks have been enhanced.

Sara recently attended our Christmas toy distribution. She was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity that was shown by all the donated toys she received. She said that thanks to Welcare Michael was able to have a wonderful Christmas and for the first time she was actually excited about experiencing Christmas with her family.