Play Partners met with Rebecca* and her mother in their family home. Rebecca had a physical disability and some very challenging behaviour at school, at times harming her peers and teacher. Because of this, the school had limited Rebecca’s attendance to 3 mornings a week. This, at the time of this case study, has now increased to 5 mornings and some afternoons, depending on her behaviour.

Rebecca’s family had no transport and limited funds for her to access activities. Play Partners managed to find a dance group, as Mum had identified dancing as something ould enjoy. The dance group was a bus journey away and Mum was happy to take Rebecca.  A play partner supported Rebecca at a creative dance group at Yorkshire Dance studios on Saturday mornings. We spoke to staff at the studios and the dance teacher about Rebecca ’s needs and Mum’s concerns and it was agreed that the class was be ideal for Rebecca.

We had arranged to meet Mum at the studios; initially Mum was hesitant to leave Rebecca with the Play Partner but with a bit of encouragement, the play partner took Rebecca to the class.  She quickly got involved with the dancing and slotted into the group like she had been going along for weeks. The dance teacher was thrilled to see someone get involved so quickly and with such enthusiasm.

After the session, the play partner discussed the session with Mum who was both relieved and stunned that Rebecca had been able to be on her own with a group of other children and dance teachers, in a new environment and without any problems.  Rebecca continued to attend the classes with our support and after 5 weeks the play partner began to spend more time out of the studio, watching from the window and encouraging Rebecca’s independence, whilst Rebecca enjoyed dancing and building positive relationships with other children and staff.  Play Partners have now stopped supporting Rebecca at the dance class as it was felt she no longer needed it; this was agreed with Mum, Rebecca and the dance staff.

 Play Partners have also supported Rebecca over the school holidays at a playscheme that she really enjoyed. She was able to go for full days with support and this has provided time off for Mum to spend with her new baby and also time for Rebecca to be with other children, play, have fun and learn new skills.  Rebecca had left some of the sessions telling her Mum how tired she was and how much she looked forward to going the next day; Mum had told us that Rebecca was rarely tired!

Although Play Partners has stopped supporting Rebecca at the dance group we have sign posted Mum to other activities and support networks and encouraged her to go to activities at her local children centre. We continue to support her during the holidays and are in regular contact with the family should any more support be needed.

*This child’s name has been changed in order to maintain anonymity.