There are after school clubs available that can offer respite for children with special needs. I have known about them for a while but the thought of sending Ethan to one scared me.
I think there were two reasons behind my fear. The first being that Ethan is my baby boy, it didn’t feel right for him to go to an after school club. In my eyes he wasn’t old enough.
I was also scared of respite, would respite mean that I had failed Ethan as a parent. That I needed to have time away from him because I was a terrible mother. There goes guilt again raising its ugly head at every turn!
Then Little E arrived and it was hard. Ethan loved her to pieces and wanted to show her affection, he was very eager. We had to make sure he was gentle and had to always have our eye on them. It was exhausting. That is when we first started to talk about respite.
Last year I decided to put Ethan on an after school club waiting list, knowing that it would be a few years before he might be offered a place. I thought I would have time to get used to the idea so we forgot about it. The summer holidays arrived and the exhausted we felt when Little E arrived returned. Over six weeks of even more disturbed sleep than normal and trying to keep Ethan busy took its toll. We already knew that this summer we would need to sort something out.
Totally out of the blue we were contacted and told that a place had become available for Ethan at the after school club. I really wasn’t expecting it but having a place at the after school club means that Ethan could also be offered respite in the summer holidays. We couldn’t turn it down, I had to push my fears of Ethan being too young and the guilt I felt aside and accept his place.
Ethan has attended the club a few times now and I’m so glad we accepted the place. It is clear to see that he really enjoys it and it happy going. Before my eyes my little boy is growing up, as hard as it is for me to let go.