When teenagers up and down the country are happily graduating from secondary education, there is a sector of society that is quietly dreading the day when their teenager leaves school. Fortunately, an exciting new enterprise headed by Catherine Brockie has developed a unique solution offering hope to these families.
To understand their predicament, Cath Brockie explains “Young adults with hidden disabilities such as Autism, Aspergers, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, etc are like any other teenager, except they may require more specific and structured support. Their daily life skills may not be as well established as others and they may even require constant supervision, but these guys suffer a worrying predicament; when they leave the safe routine of formal secondary education at 19 they can be faced with an unsettling and uncertain future”
The Government’s ‘Care in the Community’ programme undergoes a profound change when these teenagers leave school. Their education opportunities and funding are often dramatically reduced, rendering individual families with no option other than to sort out and source funding for their care provision. Many families are often forced into difficult situations, needing to earn extra income to meet the deficit, when their time is already taken up caring full time for their child. Whilst some are fortunate to follow on with a formal education programme, many are not, often due to the lack of specialist further education facilities that can meet the needs of these individuals with hidden disabilities.
This can be a stressful period of change for the teenagers when familiar routines will end. Young adults with hidden disabilities often need to maintain a regular routine to cope with day-to-day life and suffer great anxiety if faced with a sudden change in circumstances. With their increasing stress and anxiety, greater demands are placed on the family. Parents of children with hidden disabilities often have to cope with a profound change in their child’s maturing behaviour. Although they have happily cared for their child’s growing needs over a long scholastic career, many parents discover that their teenagers changing demands and requirements become increasingly exhausting. As parents are getting older å, they frequently find it wearisome on their own health and find it difficult to cope with increasingly stressful needs. This often proves to be a challenging period for the whole family.
Some limited assistance is available for the families through specialist departments at Local Authorities and the private sector. Formal provision of care and funding channels are normally handled through Local Authority run Social Services who advise on the various schemes. These are usually the first source of advice to help families in need and are best placed to advise them on any available and appropriate programmes. Unfortunateåly due to ongoing pressures of funding constraints and regional inconsistencies, not all local authorities have as comprehensive a choice of facilities as others, and families often experience difficulties and delays in accessing information and support services .
This inconsistency of choice can be terribly unsettling and distressing for certain families faced with specific needs. They are often left without the best information and unaware of their choices. Unless their local authority can best advise them, they are left wanting. Many in desperation turn to the internet and search for any available schemes that may help their children. For many this means an uncertain upheaval for their family to find the right facility that meet their specific needs. More often than not, left with such limited options, families may find their child confined to a restricted institutional life with an inflexible routine. This often results in a lack of personal development and inability to lead a fulfilling independent life.
Fortunately, there is now hope and opportunity for families of hidden disabilities with an exciting new scheme established by Cath Brockie. With over 20 years of experience in the care sector, Cath has learnt first hand the frustrations and grief that these families have to endure, so has decided to do something about it!
Cath established the Corran Group with two new facilities in England and Wales to accommodate the specialist needs of families with hidden disabilities. The centres employ a relaxed nurturing environment enabling young adults to develop their personal life skills through complimentary day to day activities. “The reason why we are able to get the best out of individuals is because of our team of dedicated staff and superb locations” states Cath. “ åWe have a unique approach to support with a team of trained specialists and safe, idyllic rural locations, allowing individuals to explore their own potential. Programmes are as individual as the person and structured to their own needs, whether it is full time residential accommodation or a few hours support a week”.
Corran prides itself in the high caliber of specialised trained staff. The team includes all the attributes to facilitate younger adults of the most challenging circumstances. With the reassurance of kind and understanding support and supervision, these young adults are able to progress to enjoy a high quality of independent living. The freedom of a rural environment mixed with modern technology and skilled practitioners allows improved communication. Daily routines change according to the choices of the individual, from hill walking to shopping, gardening to horse riding, there is plenty to see and do at Corran. “Our strength is that we are able to communicate, build confidence and enable a better quality of life for all the family” states Cath. “we often get new families who turn up in utter turmoil and leave totally reassured that their child now has a secure future”
The Corran Group is an independent younger adult facility specialising in enabling families with hidden disabilities. With specialist facilities in rural Carmarthenshire and Worcestershire, they provide a safe and nurturing environment to enable a better way of life. Families are comforted with a flexible and approachable service where the activity programme is as flexible as an individual requires, from full residency, week day and weekends, to hourly sessions. With full approval to all regulatory authorities and Social Services quality standards, the facility is also eligible for available funding channels making families’ choices that much more accommodating.