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Grant to make a Safespace
for my son





Our son is 2 years 3 months. He has Autism and sensory processing disorder.

Until a few weeks ago we could put him in a playpen where we knew he would be safe, but he then started climbing out and climbing on window sills opening windows, moving furniture to access the electric cables and plugs.

He puts everything into his mouth except food and he soaks it. With plugs he puts them back into the sockets.

We tried making a safe room using his bedroom.

We put a double mattress on the floor as his bed and cleared all furniture out so no sharp edges etc. We thought the window would be safe as it is over 3ft high. But he climbed onto the sill and tried opening the windows, (we live in a house) even though I had locked them with the key.

He doesn't understand danger whatsoever. We cannot turn our backs for a minute without him putting himself in total danger.

We cannot even go to the toilet and we are relying on younger siblings to watch him just to get simple tasks done.

He always sleeps with us. His Speech and Lanaguage Therapist wants him to have a routine at bedtime, but the room isn't safe for him.

We were told about the Safespaces web site from his nursery nurse at Chelmsford Education Department and wondered whether we would get any grant funding to make this space place for our little boy.



ANSWER:

You must be exhausted and constantly worried trying to keep your son safe every day.

It may be possible that the saferoom could be funded through the Disability Facilities Grant. This is not means testing for children but you will need to be referred from an Occupational Therapist (OT). The OT will provide information on how to apply for the grant. To find a Therapist contact your local Children's Services Department at your County Council.

The Occupational Therapist will also know about funding from other sources locally such as Social Services.

Do try these options first before approaching charities as they will ask you whether you have investigated all statutory sources of funding.

Due to the high cost you may need to approach several charities. I suggest you draw up a wish list of the different products you would need to create your safe room as individual charities may fund one or two items each.

Check through all the charities listed under Grants for Children.

If you apply to charities you will need a report from either an Occupational Therapist or another suitably qualified professional confirming your son's needs.

I do hope you manage to obtain a saferoom for your son as it sounds as if it would help with the management of his needs and make such a diffference to your lives.

Good Luck!

Julia


Comments for Grant to make a Safespace

for our son



Safe room for 5 year old boy 
by: Gaye 

I wonder if anyone has any advice for me please. My 5 year old son has Microcephaly and has been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, where on there is still being assessed. 

He has social communication and behavioural difficulties, including severe meltdowns that can last for hours.

I have asked my local council for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to convert my garage (attached to my kitchen) to provide a safe environment for him. 

This would enable me to prepare meals etc while still observing him, but without the constant supervision currently necessary.

The electrics and radiator is already in place however, the floor would need insulating and raising, the walls plaster boarding and skimming and the garage door replacing with a window and bricking up.

The OT that came to inspect has advised that he thought it would be appropriate to simply raise the floor, and perhaps board the walls, but not the window. This room has to be safe for my son, it will need the plug sockets moving to a safe height (he plays with them and puts things in them) and must be fit for use and comply with regulations.
I also do not see that permission would be given by the council to only partially convert the room.
In addition, a window would provide daylight which particularly in light of my son's sleeping difficulties - It's essential so that he is aware of the day/night.

I have explained that this conversion will have to adapt to my son's changing needs as he grows, and his need for his own space.

Does anyone have any experience of this kind of situation? And whether the DFG would agree to any work, have an obligation to do the work properly, or can choose to only partially provide it.
The OT also mentioned Safespaces but confirmed that the DFG would not fund this. They are also refusing assistance to make my garden safe for my son as they say their obligation is only to provide safe access.

I have asked for their support in a charitable organisations grant application for this. Many thanks.


ANSWER:


Hi Gaye,
The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is provided by local councils. Unfortunately what they provide (and how quickly they provide it!) does vary.

At the moment with budgets being slashed many are providing ONLY what they legally have to provide.

So, for example with gardens they have to provide access to the garden from the house but not the garden itself.

Like you I can't see the point of doing half a job - either you convert it properly or not at all.

It might be as your son gets older he may qualify to have all the work completed under the DFG as the work isn't means tested for children.

But that doesn't help you with his immediate needs.

One charity that does help with work not covered by the DFG is The Act Foundation.

You can find more details about them on this page....
www.disability-grants.org/grants-for-housing-general.html

Julia







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