Welcome support: Respite care offers lifeline to families

Welcome support: Respite care offers lifeline to families
Deborah Orr and Terhisti Abboy at Stewarts Care’s 150 year celebrations. Picture: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Declan Twomey has Down syndrome, autism, and cystic fibrosis. The 11-year-old Lucan boy also has moderate to severe intellectual disability.

His sisters, Anna, 12, and Maebh, 9, adore him but they also adore when it’s just them with mum and dad on the fortnightly Saturdays when Declan’s at his Saturday Club.

The four-hour respite service on alternate Saturdays is provided by Stewarts Care in Palmerstown, one of the largest care provider organisations in the country for people with intellectual disability.

“Having access to respite is a lifeline for our two daughters. It gives me and my husband a chance to do stuff with them like going to play-parks and restaurants, which Declan can’t cope with because of the noise and crowds,” says Colette Twomey.

“The girls adore Declan but they really appreciate the time alone with us because he has such high care needs.”

Declan’s Saturday Club access used to be monthly until recently. The more frequent visits benefit him too.

He finds change difficult. Once a fortnight means he’s more prepared and happy going to his club — it’s widening his social life.

During school holidays, Declan needs specialised childcare — “someone with special needs education who can manage his toileting needs” — and consequently can’t afford camps for the girls.

Colette says her daughters have higher levels of empathy and appreciate difference more than is usual for their age.

The girls are supported by an annual sibling workshop for brothers/sisters of children attending Stewarts Care.

It’s run by a clinical team with psychologist and social worker.

“They play games and talk in groups with other children about what it’s like to have a sibling with special needs.

It helps them develop coping strategies and they realise it’s OK to have these feelings, to celebrate Declan but also to find it challenging.

Stewarts Care helps people of all ages with intellectual disability. Services include care, education, and social activities.

Almost 1,000 people are supported across residential, day-service, and respite services.

The organisation has been there for Declan from the start, providing clinical services and home support when he was a baby, and the family hopes it will be there for him right into the future.

As the new school year starts, Stewarts Care is looking forward to the opening of a state-of-the-art school building, catering for up to 160 children with intellectual disability.

More on this topic

Warning about the overprescribing sleeping medicines welcomed by GPsWarning about the overprescribing sleeping medicines welcomed by GPs

Gareth Thomas’s disclosure of HIV has led to surge in enquiries, charity saysGareth Thomas’s disclosure of HIV has led to surge in enquiries, charity says

Worrying statistics reveal heart disease risk among Irish adultsWorrying statistics reveal heart disease risk among Irish adults

Westmeath obstetrician 'relieved' as Medical Council dismisses case against her over 'weak' evidenceWestmeath obstetrician 'relieved' as Medical Council dismisses case against her over 'weak' evidence

More in this Section

This is why Rachel Green’s style is the epitome of Ralph Lauren – as a new collection is announcedThis is why Rachel Green’s style is the epitome of Ralph Lauren – as a new collection is announced

Cork comedian Andrew Ryan is 'a cross between Ardal O’Hanlon and Ed Byrne'Cork comedian Andrew Ryan is 'a cross between Ardal O’Hanlon and Ed Byrne'

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Essential eyeliners for a killer lookBeauty is in the eye of the beholder: Essential eyeliners for a killer look

London Fashion Week: How you’ll dress for the next decadeLondon Fashion Week: How you’ll dress for the next decade


Latest Showbiz

The designer is a close friend of Meghan's and worked with her on the Smart Set collection.Harry and Meghan ‘in Rome for Misha Nonoo wedding’

The reality star is the newest celebrity ambassador for WW.Curtis Pritchard shocked by criticism from body shaming trolls

Cecelia Ahern has revealed that Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank on is board for a new movie on her sequel to her blockbuster P.S. I Love You.Cecelia Ahern reveals movie sequel to 'P.S. I Love You', with Hilary Swank as lead

The pair played frazzled parents Peter and Sue Brockman in the hit BBC sitcom.Claire Skinner: My real-life romance with Hugh Dennis is a lovely surprise

More From The Irish Examiner