Vaida and her husband live in Thirsk with two daughters, aged 5 and 8. The eldest is autistic with dyspraxia and a language disorder – she’s currently under the ADHD and dyslexia pathway and will start at a SEND school in September. Her younger sister attends mainstream school with speech and language support, and is undergoing assessment for autism.
Vaida has a BA in childcare from her home country of Lithuania, but has’t worked since the Covid-19 pandemic. As her husband works away a lot, she needs to be around for the children. With family abroad, they don’t have a lot of support.
School holidays can pose a particular challenge for Vaida’s family. Going abroad is expensive, but also unsettling for the children, who prefer being in a familiar environment. They usually enjoy local activities, such as the library, and meeting with friends.
When she discovered FEAST on a Facebook support group, Vaida spotted the activities for children with SEND and got in touch right away. Both children are more interested in arts than sport, and Thunk It Theatre looked like a great option.
In the end, those first FEAST activities at Thunk It Theatre were transformational.
“It was such amazing timing, because my eldest child was choosing which SEND school to go to. It was a great opportunity for her to see what it might be like to be around other kids like her.
Thunk It Theatre were so well prepared for my children coming along – they asked about the adjustments we needed, and took time with every child to feel comfortable when they arrived. We trusted them, it was clear they had the right processes in place. It puts you at ease.”
The FEAST activities at Thunk It Theatre were ideal for Vaida’s daughters, offering an opportunity to express themselves through arts in an environment that wasn’t too busy, or too loud. At the end of the week, they even did a little performance of what they’d learned, for parents to enjoy.
In turn, Vaida herself was able to enjoy a bit of respite from childcare, to catch up on admin and have some time for herself.
“These few hours are invaluable for me, especially when you don’t have family support.”