Complex needs

If you are the kind of foster carer willing to give extra time and effort, as well as cope with the additional physical demands, you might consider specialising in fostering children with complex needs. At Rainbow fostering ,we would like to hear from applicants or foster carers keen to develop the additional skills needed. Foster carers looking after children with disabilities can expect to receive higher rates of pay as well as generous provision off respite care

What are complex needs?

As one of the leading independent fostering agencies, we commit to providing all the support and additional training that will be required. Where necessary, this will include providing specialist equipment plus together with advice about any home adaptations that may be required. We also pay an enhanced fostering allowance that recognises the additional costs that are likely to be involved. if you are caring for a child/young person with complex needs, it is still necessary to take special account of their educational needs. One of the most important tasks for a foster carer is to support the children and young people in care through their education. Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will require additional support.

The definition of SEND has been established by the Children and Families Act of 2014. This defines a child or young person as requiring special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means special educational provision is needed. Complex needs are defined when a child or young person has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of other individuals of the same age, or, if they have a disability preventing them from using facilities provided for other young people of similar age in mainstream schools, or post 16 establishments. It is important that anyone considering becoming a foster carer has an understanding of the support and guidance that is in place and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Knowing that support is co-ordinated provides reassurance around the life changing decision to foster – and especially to foster children with complex needs. There are Health and Well Being Boards (HWB’s) which are established by local authorities that bring together the NHS, adult social care - as well as children’s services. Their role is to play a key role supporting; amongst other things, the needs of children with complex and special educational needs - including those with illnesses, injuries or conditions of varying severity. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://www.diabetes.org.uk http://www.kidsfitnessfirst.org/

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is an umbrella term for a group of behavioural symptoms that can include hyperactivity and inattentiveness with impulsive behaviour also being an indicator: the general symptoms are short attention span, constant restlessness and overactivity. It is at school that these problems are usually noticed first because a child with ADHD can be disruptive. ADHD is an umbrella term for a group of behavioural symptoms that can include hyperactivity and inattentiveness with impulsive behaviour also being an indicator: the general symptoms are short attention span, constant restlessness and overactivity. It is at school that these problems are usually noticed first because a child with ADHD can be disruptive. They differ in girls and boys as well as at different ages. If ADHD is suspected, a child will be assessed by a ADHD doctor or psychologist.

Once it has been decided a child has ADHD a treatment plan will be put in place. There is no cure, but the symptoms can be relieved.

This is done using medication or therapy – sometimes a combination of both. It is common for the treatment to be arranged by a specialist such as a psychiatrist or paediatrician and then monitored by a General Practitioner. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://kidshealth.org/ http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/

Global Developmental Delay (GDD)

The terms ‘global development delay’ or ‘development delay’ are used to describe a situation where child takes longer to reach certain development ‘milestones’ or stages. Such stages might include movement and coordination skills, walking, talking or learning new things - as well as interacting socially. An individual with another condition such as Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy may also sufferer from GDD. For some individuals, the delay in their development can be of a short term nature. Additional support and therapy can help them overcome such a delay. For others, the delay may be more significant. This can mean the need for ongoing support. GDD can also indicate the presence of a learning disability.

Autism and (Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

These are general terms used to describe a group of complex brain development disorders which show up to varying degrees in difficulties with verbal and non verbal communication. Marked repetitive behaviour can be a symptom. The clearest signs of autism tend to become apparent when a child is around the age of two or three years. Autism is regarded as a lifelong developmental disability affecting one in one hundred people. It affects how people communicate and relate to others, as well as the manner in which they experience the world around them. Individuals on the autism spectrum can also experience an under or over sensitivity to touch, tastes, smells, light, colours or even sounds. These are general terms used to describe a group of complex brain development disorders which show up to varying degrees in difficulties with verbal and non verbal communication.

Marked repetitive behaviour can be a symptom The clearest signs of autism tend to become apparent when a child is around the age of two or three years.Autism is regarded as a lifelong developmental disability affecting one in one hundred people. It affects how people communicate and relate to others, as well as the manner in which they experience the world around them. Individuals on the autism spectrum can also experience an under or over sensitivity to touch, tastes, smells, light, colours or even sounds. There are three main areas that all people with autism share in common. These areas of difficulty are sometimes referred to as the ‘triad of impairments’ and they are:
  • difficulty with social interaction,
  • difficulty with social communication,
  • difficulty with social imagination Autism is referred to as a spectrum condition. People with autism can be very individual in terms of their needs. They can usually be relatively independent, but others may need to rely on specialist support throughout their lives. Rainbow offer training and support to foster carers around the management of this condition. Currently there is no cure for autism but there are a range of interventions that facilitate learning and development. Young people with autism will need additional educational support. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit:
  • http://www.autismspeaks.org
  • http://www.childautism.org.uk/
  • Asthma

    The statistics for asthma are of note. 1.1 million children (1 in 10) children in the UK suffer from asthma and in every UK classroom there are on average 3 children with asthma. It can pose a serious risk – in the UK every nineteen minutes a child is admitted to hospital because of the condition. Pet allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes are three of the most significant triggers for an attack. There are treatments available if you are fostering babies, children or young people. If a child starts to experience problems breathing and asthma is diagnosed your GP may prescribe an inhaler. This is also known as a reliever which is a medicine that once inhaled provides instant relief. It quickly relaxes the airways making breathing easier. Fostering babies and toddlers with asthma requires a different approach – a nebuliser is used which creates a mist that is easily inhaled.

    Where a foster carer is looking after a child with asthma, there are a number of preventative measures that can be put in place. When fostering children, consideration must be exercised when there are pets in the house. A household pet could be a problem if a child is predisposed to asthma. Germs and fur/hair from pets can be one of the very worst triggers for asthma. It can be alarming when a child experiences an asthma attack. If this occurs, it is important to remain calm. There are warning signs: a child might begin waking at night with a tight chest and experience coughing and wheezing; a child might begin using an inhaler more frequently; the general activity levels of a child may lessen – perhaps just walking affects their breathing noticeably. Dust as well as dust mites can also trigger an asthma attack. Cleaning can resolve a lot of the problems, so a regime of regular dusting, washing and airing bedding is important. Soft toys and cushions should also be cleaned regularly. If an attack comes on, an appointment to see a GP should be made straightaway. Where an attack is in progress, a child should be sat up and clothing should be loosened. They should then be given two puffs of the reliever inhaler. If there is no improvement, a single puff of the reliever inhaler should be taken every five minutes, or until the airways relax and normal breathing is resumed. It is important to call an ambulance should symptoms worsen. This might be where the child is too breathless to talk, or their lips turn blue. Again, at Rainbow fostering our independent foster care services can include education and training around fostering a child with asthma. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://www.asthma.org.uk http://www.netmums.com/

    Asperger Syndrome

    Asperger syndrome is a form of autism and is often regarded as a ‘hidden disability’. This is because it isn’t always easy to tell from people’s outward manner and appearance that they have Aspergers. As it is a form of autism the same ‘triad of impairments’ are present –

    • difficulty with social interaction
    • difficulty with social communication
    • difficulty with social imagination
    Although there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome generally have fewer problems with speaking and can demonstrate above average They can, however,

    exhibit specific learning difficulties which can include conditions such as dyspraxia or dyslexia. At Rainbow, as providers of independent foster care services, we provide education and training around managing this condition. Asperger syndrome can also give rise to difficulties in being able to express emotions - as well as social difficulties. Examples can cover: a difficulty understanding when to start or end a conversation, problems choosing topics for conversation, a tendency to use complex words or phrases without comprehension of their meaning, difficulties comprehending tone of voice or facial expressions. People with Asperger syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially and it can be hard for them to establish and maintain social relationships. This can give rise to anxiety. The syndrome means individuals can display differing characteristics but there are three main areas Asperger sufferers can experience problems around: special interests, sensory difficulties. love of routines. The cause of Asperger syndrome is not fully understood. It seems to be more common in males then females. The latest research indicates that a potential cause may be a mix of genetic and environmental factors affecting the brain as it develops. Currently there is no cure for the Asperger syndrome, but there are a variety of therapies available. When the condition is suspected, a GP will usually refer a case on to other more specialist professionals for a formal diagnosis to be made. When fostering a child with Asperger syndrome plenty of support will be made available by Rainbow fostering. As an independent fostering agency, we tailor any training required to build the confidence and capabilities of our foster carers. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asperger.aspx

    Cerebral palsy/spasticity

    The most common cause of spasticity in children and young people is cerebral palsy. This includes various conditions that directly affect muscle control and movement. It is a condition that affects around 1 in 400 children. Where children are born with a brain injury leading to cerebral palsy, spasticity may not necessarily occur at birth. It is possible it may appear over time. Spasticity is the condition where certain muscles are continuously contracted. This can cause stiffness and tightness which can adversely affect normal movement, speech and posture. Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability seen in childhood. It can be evident in the first twelve to eighteen months of life. It arises as a result of damage caused to the developing brain. In the majority of cases, brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy occurs

    Theduring pregnancy. Apart from their motor disability, sufferers are likely to have other impairments. These can include problems affecting learning, vision, hearing, speech and epilepsy. There is no cure for cerebral palsy. Treatments and therapies: the main interventions with cerebral palsy address difficulties with movement. Prescriptions are available to provide alleviation relating to issues surrounding bodily movement. Some medications such as diazepam can be taken orally with others being injected, or delivered via surgically implanted pumps i.e Baclofen. A lot of children with cerebral palsy derive benefit from Botulinum toxin type A injections. Fostering children who have cerebral palsy will clearly place significant additional demands on a carer. At Rainbow fostering, we offer full support around dealing with this condition. Our training and support package will include: telephone support from a dedicated social worker twenty four hours a day, fifty two weeks of the year, paid respite including an enhanced holiday allowance, transportation assistance, access to therapeutic support, support from support workers and supervising social workers In a low percentage of children with cerebral palsy, a neurosurgical procedure is used to permanently reduce spasticity in the legs. This is known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). The most common forms of remedial intervention centre upon physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Health professionals concentrate on facilitating a child or young person’s day-to-day movement including walking, sitting, playing, dressing as well as toileting. Other medical interventions may cover issues relating to eating, digestion, speech, saliva control, vision and hearing impairment. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://www.cerebralpalsy.org.uk http://www.scope.org.uk

    Diabetes

    There is a disturbing rise in the numbers of children being affected by Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.Type 1 is an autoimmune condition resulting in the destruction of insulin producing beta cells – the result of damage caused by the body’s own immune system. About 90% of people with type 1 do not have a family history of the condition. So far in excess of fifty genes have been identified that can increase an individuals chance of developing Type 1. There is ongoing research into environmental factors that may play a part. As an independent fostering agency, Rainbow keeps abreast of trends that feed through into issues impacting upon children and young people. The statistics raise concerns: roughly 400,000 people in the UK are currently living with Type 1 diabetes and over 29,000 of them are children.

    The incidence of Type 1 is increasing by around 4% annually – There especially in children under the age of five: there has been a five fold increase in this group in the last 20 years alone. Type 1 diabetes affects 97% of all children with diabetes in England. The condition is a burden: having Type 1 will mean a person will have approximately 65,000 injections and have to measure their blood glucose around 80,000 times in their lifetime. Type 2 is easily the most common type of diabetes in the UK. It used to be more common amongst people over 40; or 25 if of South Asian descent. When fostering children it is worth noting that Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common among young people due to their lifestyle. This is a matter of concern amongst all the fostering networks. With Type 2 diabetes the body is unable to make enough insulin or insulin the body can use. Over time cells become resistant to insulin meaning the pancreas is put under strain from producing the additional insulin required to keep blood glucose levels within the normal range. If you are a foster carer and want more information, we recommend you visit: http://www.diabetes.org.uk http://www.kidsfitnessfirst.org/

    Childhood obesity

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) now views childhood obesity as a serious public health issue on a global scale. In this country, approximately one million school children are monitored by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). They look at the height and weight of children.From their research, a disturbing picture of obesity is emerging. The latest figures give rise for concern – especially when it is known obese children and teenagers are at a much greater risk of developing a range of health problems - and remain obese as adults. Their latest figures reveal that for 2014/15 19.1% of Year 6 children 10 – 11 years were obese with a further 14.2% being overweight. 9.1% of Reception children 4 – 5 years were obese and a further 12.8% being overweight. Obesity at an early age can result in complex needs in later life. This is why a healthy balanced diet is so important.

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