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Anyone used Portage?

(17 Posts)
Sheila Mon 09-Jun-03 14:21:10

No not a removal firm, actually a "...home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families".

I've got their regional advisor coming to see me on Thursday to talk about ds's appalling sleep patterns and wondered if anyone else had any experience of them?

Caroline5 Mon 09-Jun-03 15:08:05

My second dd has portage as she has developmental delay. It has been great, the portage workers are very supportive and have in my experience some excellent ideas for you to try. I've not really spoken to them about sleep patterns, but I'm sure they could be helpful. Good luck.

Jimjams Mon 09-Jun-03 19:08:40

Portage usually work with children with disabilities- although they are extending in some areas into behavioural problems as well. We've been getting portage for a year now (since ds1's autism diagnosis)- it will stop at the end of this term- as he's off to school in September. It is usually funded by the nursery voucher scheme - so it counts as one session for nursery aged children (at least it does here- may vary from area to area though).

Quite a few of us have had portage in the Special needs section. I think we've all found it very helpful- although it does depend on your worker. Ours is very good.

doormat Mon 09-Jun-03 19:14:29

Sheila my son had portage when he was about 18 months old until he went to nursery in his school. He has severe developemental delay.
The portage teacher was really lovely and had some good ideas for me to use with my son.

Have a look under sleep prob in special needs section, is your ds like mine?

Sheila Tue 10-Jun-03 13:03:42

Dear Doormat - just picked up your message. I've looked at the thread and my DS's sleep habits aren't as severe as those you describe (my sincere sympathy to you by the way).

As far as I'm aware DS isn't a special needs kid but he's always been a terrible sleeper (he's now 3) - wakes up at least once every night and at the moment very early between 5-6a.m. That combination is doing me in since I'm a single parent and work 4 days a week.

Over the years I've tried everything from controlled crying to star charts and nothing has worked for very long so I'm hoping portage can come up with somehting new. It's worth a try and it'll be nice to talk to someone about it.

Your message made me think because DS has a half brother (on his dad's side) with special needs. I have also always wondered about his dad who I think (and I'm really not being flippant here) is selfish to the point of abnormality and seems to completely lack the power of empathy.

I remember reading something somewhere (in relation to Nick Hornby I think) that all men were autistic to some degree.

Don't mean to diminish the impact of special needs - hope I haven't caused offence.

Many thanks for your message.

Bumblelion Tue 10-Jun-03 15:37:45

I can't believe I have also found this thread. DD2 is 19 months.

My DD2 was referred for portage after failing her hearing test. The audiologist asked me whether she was having portage and I had never even heard of it before but thought if it would benefit DD2 then I would find out more about it. I asked my HV about it and whether it would benefit my DD2 and my HV referred her. I had the co-ordinator come to my house yesterday with the actual portage worker who will be dealing with DD2. Both lovely people. The co-ordinator spoke to me, asking lots of questions, while the actual portage worker spent time with DD2, playing ball, puzzles, building bricks, etc.

I had no idea what portage involves - they gave me lots of information - leaflets, etc.

My DD2 has been referred as she has got slight developmental delay (both fine and gross motor skills) and they will work with her until she starts pre-school. They are coming for 1 hour a week starting on 23rd June to "play" with DD2, while "teaching her".

She has also been referred for speech therapy - not sure if she has delayed speech because of the failed hearing tests (although she can hear) or whether it is just because that is another area she is behind in although the co-ordinator yesterday said she noticed that Sasha dribbles a lot and it might be that she has not developed her mouth muscles enough yet to be able to properly form words. One area we are going to work on is giving her more finger foods, very chewy food to get her mouth muscles working harder.

They are going to focus on many issues but, mostly, for DD2 it is mobility (she has only just started cruising around furniture with a little bit of free walking) and also co-ordination.

One area they are not going to focus on is her "social skills" as she is very confident, loves people, mixes well.

Apparently they will set me a task each work to work on with Sasha. Some tasks (such as speaking) we may work on for a few weeks, other tasks might only be one week.

The Co-Ord. said that she thinks I might qualify for disability alllowance and will get me more information when she comes on the 23rd but I don't think I will as (1) I work, (2) don't claim any benefits as such apart from childrens tax credit, (3) Sasha is not "disabled".

Would love to know how you get on on Thursday with your portage worker.

Caroline5 Tue 10-Jun-03 15:53:20

Bumblelion, glad to hear you had such a positive time with portage. I just thought I'd mention that Disability Living Allowance isn't means tested at all, so it might still be worth claiming. Don't be put off by the nightmarish form, you have to put down your worst experience for every question, and it seems that you often have to appeal.

Bumblelion Tue 10-Jun-03 16:14:14

Thanks Caroline5, but I can't see that I would even be able to claim as it Sasha is not actually "disabled" but I suppose that depends on their definition of disabled.

Jimjams Tue 10-Jun-03 17:36:27

Bumblelion- the official definition of disabled for most purposes is that you receive DLA! You don't need a diagnosis for DLA- it is awarded if your child needs more of your time than a "normal" child.

And the forms are horrendous and depressing, but it is a worthwhile benefit.

doormat Tue 10-Jun-03 18:01:20

Sheila you haven't caused offence. LOL and hope that you will soon have a good nights sleep

lou33 Tue 10-Jun-03 18:53:27

Bumblelion, have a look here , it might help you decide.

ThomCat Mon 23-Jun-03 12:35:21

I'm a bit late replying to this one, I've ben on mu hols', but just wanted to say I get more out of Portage than I do anything else. The woman who comes to see lottie is fab and Lottie loves her. As she's seen in her own enviroment she responds much better to all the little tasks we give her to do and Angela (my Portage lady) gets a much better idea of how Lottie is getting on than all the other therapists who i see at the hospital. There lottie is too busy looking around and checking out where she is and all these people who are sat in front of her holding ou touys she's never seen before so I say Portage rocks! Good luck and I hope you get a lot out of it.

fio2 Mon 23-Jun-03 12:49:06

I have only just noticed this thread too-dont know how I missed it! My dd received portage for 12 months and we found it particually helpful. dd has a global development delay and breaking the learning process down into smaller steps was particually helpful to her development. Our portage worker was lovely and dd loved her coming round.

Bumblelion you will most probably find that you are entitled to DLA. I have only just started receiving ours as I didnt think we were entitled to it either as my dd has no diagnosis, she is just delayed. We were actually entitled to more than I thought we would be.

lou33 Mon 23-Jun-03 15:46:25

Hello TC welcome back. Good time?

Bumblelion Tue 24-Jun-03 12:28:47

Sasha is going to have her first session next Monday as yesterday they wanted to focus on her needs, find out more about her.

Sheila (the portage worker) is lovely. Sasha gets very frustrated as she can't really communicate what she wants. If she wants something off the side in the kitchen, I pick up one thing, show her, she makes a "no" sound and shakes her head and then I try the next thing. Sheila is going to make a "Sasha Special Book" with her favourite things in ... food, drinks, toys, etc., bowl of grapes, chunk of cucumber, biscuit, beaker of juice, bottle of milk, favourite toy etc. to try and get Sasha to hand me the photograph or point to the picture of what she wants.

She can hear to an extent as she responds - you ask her to dance and she wiggles her bum whereas if she was deaf I don't think she would be able to define what we are asking and wouldn't always respond correctly. If it was guess work, sometimes she would get it wrong. You ask her where her shoes are and she will go and get them, etc.

Sheila met Sasha on 9th June for the first time and was amazed herself at seeing Sasha freely walking around the house - before she would cruise around the furniture but since Sunday has been freely walking and there is no stopping her.

She needs help with her co-ordination - yesterday she ended up wearing most of her breakfast instead of eating it. She can eat finger food no problem but doesn't handle a spoon very well.

When Sheila was asking the questions yesterday, some of the things Sasha doesn't do at all (babble talk), but other things she does that they wouldn't normally expect her to be able to (helps undress herself, climbs upstairs). She was amazed she can climb upstairs but can't climb onto an adults chair, although if she is sitting with me she can climb down backwards off it.

Sheila is coming next week to spend more play time with Sasha whereas yesterday was more to build up a picture of where she is and what help she needs.

She is also going to try teaching her a bit of sign language as it will help reinforce it in Sasha's mind what we are asking for if we ask for something and back it up by an action.

Sheila Tue 24-Jun-03 12:59:51

Sorry haven't reported on my session with Portage worker. She came to see me at work and spent an hour or so talking about DS's weird and wonderful (non-)sleeping habits. She was very positive and suggested some ideas I hadn't considered. Now I have to find the energy to try them!

Generally I found her much more helpful than my HV - much better informed and it was lovely to have the luxury of lots of time to talk. Big thumbs up so far!

ThomCat Tue 24-Jun-03 14:48:57

That's great Shelia, I'm really pleased.

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