SoftThistle Life

Meeting Santa and Remembering How Far We've Come.

AutismMarylin2 Comments

Today was the first time Max was able to handle meeting Santa Claus and sit nicely for a photo! 

The first time in 8 years. EIGHT years! 

Mr Claus was wonderful with Max and fully aware of how to speak to him in a way he would understand, and Max? He was beside himself with excitement!

It's not all sunshine and smiles though...

It took one and a half hours of a meltdown before Max calmed after getting home from our day out.

By day out I mean, we went to KFC for his popcorn chicken (Yay something he'll eat! Sometimes...), the boys got their hair cut,  a replacement 2DS was purchased from Game (love their preowned stuff!) and of course, we met Santa. For some that's not much, but for Max, it's a LOT to take in. 

This is why we don't do even little trips out too often, as although Max can now manage *really* well while we're out (in general!), as soon as we get back home, all the feelings are released like a tidal wave.

Screaming, shouting, crying, shrieking, lashing out and self-harm are all things he goes through every time he comes home, even from school (though we have worked on this and this rarely happens for more than 5-10 minutes once we're in the door now, thank goodness!). 

This is autism, and this is what we live with every day. He may seem to be coping amazingly well when out, and when at school, but the sacrifices made to ensure Max is calm and happy are so much more than you know.

I am so beyond proud of this little guy, of his big brother for being such an amazing support to Max, and to me, and I am also proud of myself for doing, quite frankly, a bloody good job raising these kids alone!

Most of all, I am thankful for the support of family, friends, and support workers, and the early intervention we've been lucky enough to receive since Max was just turned 2.

I'm thankful to see the progress of my little guy throughout the years. 

I'm thankful to have Zack, such a thoughtful, fun, kind and supportive child, wise beyond his years (and more than a little crazy too!).

They've been the making of me, as much as I have of them... and this? This is just the beginning.


So that went well! *cough* #BEDN

LifeMarylin2 Comments

Well, it did start off well... I managed almost a full week of posting every day. Then... uh. 

Yeah. I'm not so good at blogging every day it seems! I should know this by now... it's been 8 years since I started!

Life gets in the way, the days are getting shorter and colder, and wanting to cosy under blankets on the sofa with my boys just seems like a much more enticing thing to do. 

Maybe if I had a working laptop I'd have done more, maybe not... who knows! 

All I know is this has been an awesome month all round, even though we may be ending on a sick-note kind of Monday. 

Zack was up all night coughing his head off, and Max... well, I've had to change a *lot* of nappies so far and it's only midday. 

It was a long night... 

At least Zack's cough seems to have calmed. 

Max... well, he's quite quiet today (yay for no shrieking and squealing!), and is chilling in my bed watching cartoons just now. 

Ah well, better now than over Christmas, right? 

Also: how the hell did it get to be December TOMORROW?! 

Hope you've done better than me at #BEDN! If you haven't? Then I hope the life-getting-in-the-way was in a good way! And if it wasn't? Sending you hugs! 

What does being a social work assistant entail?

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Social care assistant jobs are set to rise between now and 2020 with more people applying for these vital roles than ever before. The National Careers Service indicates that “employers will usually consider experience to be more important than qualifications”, which means that this type of work is something to consider if you don’t have any formal post-secondary education.

Being a social work assistant is a very rewarding job as you will work alongside qualified social workers out in the community, helping and supporting people of different ages and from many different backgrounds, including families, people with disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health issues, the elderly and of course children.

The main part of your job will be to support social workers and other professionals in the work that they do and your job may take place in a variety of settings from a residential home to a hospital, a client’s personal home or a room in a community centre. As part of the job you will have certain tasks to complete such as:

Helping to organise and implement programmes

Contacting service users

Setting up appointments

Arranging services

Informing service users of any suitable resources they can access

Helping to work out a service user’s needs and creating or following a care plan

Directing clients to appropriate groups or service provision

Helping service users complete paperwork

Following up visits after service users have received help

Keeping records

Writing reports

Attending meetings with other agencies

Liaising with other healthcare professionals

To be an effective social work assistant you will need to be able to communicate with people on all levels, from service users, colleagues and managers to representatives from other agencies and healthcare providers. You should have a practical approach to your work and be flexible and understanding to meet the needs of the job. If you can work as part of a team and can cope with difficult situations while remaining calm, patient and without being judgemental, then this could be a perfect role for you. It would also help if you were an organised individual with some computer or administrative skills. You should be able to use your own initiative, too.

If you would like to work as a social work assistant, you can expect to work around 37 hours per week and this may include shift work or unsociable hours. You can always start part time or do hourly work for an agency to see if you like it, before committing to a full time position. According to Input Youth you can expect salaries starting “around £16,000 a year. With experience and relevant qualifications, earnings can rise to between £18,000 and £22,000. Hourly rates for agency work can be between £8 and £14.”

Although you don’t need any formal qualifications for this role, once you have secured a job you will also receive training and development opportunities from your employer as it is a requirement that you are working towards “The Care Certificate” which according to Skills For Care is “an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life.” This certificate forms the basis of your career as a social work assistant, and will help you to understand your role and other important factors including safeguarding, equality and diversity, handling information and will also raise your awareness of some of the issues your service users may be dealing with. You may decide you would like to progress within your career and there are a number of opportunities including training to be a qualified social worker or moving into other related careers such as counselling, family support or community advice. To qualify to work in this sector you may need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check which is a requirement for all who wish to work with vulnerable adults and children as it checks your criminal history and performs other background checks to assess your suitability for this type of role. Usually your employer will pay for the check to be carried out but you will need to provide correct information and identification.

If you feel you have the skills, qualities and experience required for social worker assistant jobs then you should check your local authority for vacancies or find job adverts in the local press or through various charities and recruitment agencies.