“Key Unlocking Futures has supported my family as my son Callum has autistic spectrum disorder traits. For a long time, I have been trying to help Callum but not really understanding how we could do that. I have looked at Callum differently; my choice of words is changing and how I react. Gill, a Senior Family Support Worker at Key, has given me knowledge of how Callum might be feeling and why. Instead of just reacting to the behaviour, I look at situations differently and understand how I react can fuel or calm a situation.
“Gill and I have discussed Callum’s anxiety and how this builds up throughout the day and often comes out in his safe place at home. I always look for the reason Callum might be anxious, but it could be environmental, which I hadn’t given much thought to.
“Gill and I have looked at school and how this is causing Callum great anxiety, we also talked about things school could do to help.
“We looked at mindfulness and examples of small exercises we can do, finding the one that works best.
“A really useful skill I am working on is looking at when Callum has a meltdown, the setting, trigger, action and result.
“Gill has a very calm manner and has offered an insight into how Callum’s mind works but not from a book but her own experience.
“I have changed the way I interact with Callum; I try and remain calm as that helps to diffuse the situation. I also give him time to relax after school, don’t overreact to situations, and give simple responses. I don’t overwhelm him with talk and questions.
“The sessions with Gill have been valuable, and I am hoping they will continue to have a positive impact on how we work with Callum and try and support him rather than punish him.”