Introduction for children and young people

Why would you come here?
Children and teenagers come to Chiltern Centre to have fun! As you make friends, we will try our best to make sure that you and those friends come to visit at the same time! We will welcome you and make sure you enjoy your stay. We will ask you about your likes and dislikes so that we know what you are interested in doing. While you are having a great time, your parents and carers can have a rest, or get on with those jobs they have been meaning to do!
What would you do?

This is an idea of what children and teenagers like doing when they are with us:

Using our wonderful multisensory room, bouncing on the trampoline, whirling around on our wheelchair roundabout, having a go on the swing, cycling, watching movies, messyplay, puzzles, relaxing with arts and crafts, cooking, music making, singing, ipads, computers, TV, reading,  playing with construction toys, gardening.  We might go to the park, or have a picnic or go swimming.  Maybe we might go out for a drink in a café or a meal.  We like to get out and about as much as we can… as much as your peers might expect to.

Some children like being amongst others and some enjoy playing by themselves.  We will help you choose.  We know that everyone is different…. and we like that!

What about things that are special to you?

You might have a special fidget spinner that you always want to have with you, or a photo album. You might wish to say prayers at particular times or watch a religious service on TV. We can help you celebrate a religious occasion like Diwali or you might want to observe Lent for instance. Everyone is different and we value everyone’s uniqueness, cultures and religions. With guidance, we will support you with your special things while you are with us.

We also like to hear from you and your families about milestones and special occasions – perhaps a birthday is coming up, or perhaps you have received an award at school, or won a sports trophy. We like to share the good times with you.

What would you eat?

If you are coming for the day, you might bring a packed lunch with you.  If you are staying longer we will cook meals for you.  We will find out your likes and dislikes and make sure we know of any special diets or requirements you have.  Some children do not eat food, but have feeds through their tummy, we are very used to this.

Where would you stay?

If you stay overnight, you will have your own bedroom.   You will get a nice quilt cover of your choice and a sign on the door to show it is your bedroom.  All of your belongings will stay in the room.  You can unpack your clothes into the wardrobe and drawers.  There may be a TV in your bedroom.  This is your private space.

Are there any groups?

We have a youth group that meets up on a Monday, called Buddies.  This group of teenagers arrive after school or college.  They have a snack and cuppa while they hear about each others’ news.  They then do an activity before they all sit down for dinner together.  After they have eaten they might do another activity or watch a film together before home time.

We also have a Holiday Playsheme – a group of children who meet up during the summer holidays and enjoy activities together.  They recently had a visit from Sir Nitwit who made them balloon swords and did magic!

Who will look after you?

The staff are friendly and are keen to help you enjoy your stay.  You will get to know each other very well.  You will have one member of staff called a Keyworker.  They might not always be there at the same time as you, but it is your keyworker that builds a closer link with you and your family and will make sure we are helping you all the best way we can.

How will we look after you?

We will provide you with care that best suits you.  We will keep checking to make sure that what we are doing is right for you and we can change as your needs do. We write all the information that can help us look after you into a Support Plan.  You and your family can help us to write this and keep it up to date.   We can talk to your school/college and your medical team to make sure we are all working together.

The staff will help you to take the medicines and treatments you usually take at home.  We know you might need help to get dressed or use the bathroom for example.  We have lots of experience of this and will do this in a way that maintains your dignity.

How will staff know what you want?

Staff will learn about the ways you like to communicate.  We can do Makaton, and are familiar with PECS and Eye gaze computers. We will ask for tips from you and your family so that we can recognise what you are communicating to us – it might be that you have a particular way of signing Yes for example, or a particular movement of your hand might mean No.  We will help you continue to learn, so that you can improve your communication.  This will mean that you can express yourself, your choices and needs better.

What if you miss home?

We can help you phone or Facetime your family if you want to speak to them while you are with us.  Often this is enough to help you settle and enjoy the rest of your stay with us.  If you are still homesick, then we will ask you and your family to decide if you wish to continue your stay.  This isn’t something that happens very often…  mostly everyone enjoys their stay and looks forward to the next one!

We will find out what your routines are and this will help things feel familiar to you.  You might like a shower before bed.  You might like to sleep with a light on for example.  These little things can help the Centre feel more homely for you.

But it’s all new!

We will make sure you are happy.  We will help you with this transition to our care.

When the Centre is still new to you, your visits might be shorter.  You might come for a look around first.   Then a teatime visit.  You might feel happier building up to staying overnight, or a few nights, or a week for example….. or you might be the opposite, and feel happy to go straight into overnight care!

You will soon build up a routine and come to know what to expect.

Will I be safe?

We will do our best to keep you safe while you are with us. The garden is secure and the outer doors to the Centre are closed.  The staff do checks each day to make sure everything is working okay and there are no visible hazards.  We will keep an eye while you are on the computer to make sure you are not seeing anything that might be unsuitable or likely to cause you distress.

There are people you can talk to if you have problems or worries, or think something isn’t right.  We will help you if you ever need to make a complaint.  Keith is in charge of Safeguarding –but all the staff are responsible for this too.  The staff are very good at communicating with children and teenagers.  We can help guide you with your friendships and with forming healthy relationships with others.

If you are staying overnight, your bedroom is your own private area.  We ask you not to go in each other’s bedrooms as we think it is important that we treat each other with dignity and respect each other’s belongings and space. There are staff available at night if you have a problem.

If you have an injury, we can give you first aid.  We will ask for help from the paramedics if you need emergency medical help.  We have hoists in our bathrooms and bedrooms so we can help you move about safely.  There is plenty of room for those using wheelchairs and walkers to get around easily.

How will you know if you’ll like it?

You can come to visit the Centre to see if you like it.  You need to make an appointment to do this.  You will see our lovely displays on the walls, showing all the wonderful things we do!  You can have a play in our multisensory room – it has lots of interactive games, lights, sounds and even smells!  This will help you get a feel for the place and the people and decide if you want to give it a try.