People’s Stories

A break from the challenges of caring

Posted 10:51AM on Wednesday 08 January 2014

James Ratcliffe has complex autism and no verbal communication. He and his parents, Kathleen and Clive, are supported by our Adult Placement Service. James also stays regularly at our Short Break Service. Since this story was recorded, Kathleen has sadly passed away.

Kathleen says, “When James was younger, Clive and I had to deal with some really challenging behaviour. We were at breaking point.

“We always resisted respite, but we just couldn’t cope. We tried a couple of respite places but he wasn’t happy. He would scream, bite and head butt. Then we found Positive Futures. At first, James visited the Short Break Service just for tea. Now he goes for a few days every month. The staff are very good with him and so understanding of his needs.

“They talk to us about what he has done and how he has behaved. It’s important for us to know that. He had a very, very bad spell over about 18 months and we thought “this is it.” But they never gave up on him. We built up a rapport with the staff whom we trust absolutely. There is a consistency of care which means they put our son first. He is happy there. Needless to say, that means Clive and I can have quality free time together to relax and get our breath back, especially as we’re in our 60s. It gives us the strength to go on.”

Clive adds, “James’s and our quality of life has improved so much. They call it respite care and with Positive Futures the emphasis is on “care”.”