Her younger sister who is three has a very rare genetic condition.
She is tube fed and has complex health needs that impact the family significantly.
At a very young age Thea, who spends lots of time with her sister, has learned to assist with daily tasks such as dressing, keeping an eye on her and also supporting with her communication needs. She also helps out with household jobs. When Thea first became involved with the Young Carers’ service at the beginning of 2020 she was extremely shy and her Dad stayed with her throughout the whole of her first visit to one of our younger youth groups at the Shared Church in Keighley.
As the months have passed and despite the restrictions placed on our service as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, Thea’s confidence and self-esteem have grown massively. She has actively participated in many of our Young Carers’ video groups and also developed a competitive streak participating in some of our bake-off and art and crafts initiatives with 100% gusto and enthusiasm as her pictures demonstrate. She even made a very realistic self-portrait with pizza food ingredients. She then decorated her pizza box very imaginatively with the Italian flag and colours.
Unfortunately, our usual summer activities schedule involved much less face to face contact than last summer due to the pandemic. However, Thea did attend one of our outdoor group sessions rock painting in Cliff Castle park in Keighley. We observed a different child to the one we saw at the Shared Church youth club earlier in the year. Thea grinned from ear to ear for most of the morning and would definitely have won the chatterbox competition if that had been on the itinerary.
Life can be hard sometimes for Thea, at home. Sometimes her sister will lash out at her physically and Thea finds these behaviours upsetting and difficult for obvious reasons. She was therefore nominated for some funding from the Covid 19 Emergency fund that became available to our service this summer. We purchased her a TV with an integral DVD player so that she could enjoy some respite in her bedroom and time to herself where she can just be the six-year-old girl that she is and enjoy her favourite programmes and films.
Thea’s mum told us:
“Thea started Young Carers a few weeks before lockdown. She was so excited to go as she knew it was her time to enjoy other things, away from her sister. For me, looking after a child with special needs is hard, but Thea also needs attention. Having the virtual groups really helped. The activities helped her wellbeing as she felt part of something. She enjoyed meeting at Cliff Castle which gave her the boost that she needed.”
“Thea needs to feel a sense of belonging and Young Carers and the staff make her feel good. During the lockdown, Thea has experienced some challenges at home but has dealt with them so well considering she’s so young. She wants to learn and share her experiences with people and I think this is the acceptance that her sister is different. Since returning to school Thea has become very anxious about a lot of things and is constantly worrying so the little groups as and when can help her.”
Thea said “Young Carers is amazing. I like it because it’s about me. I miss the group as I made new friends. I am so excited that one day we may get the teddy bears picnic. In lockdown, Carrie came round and brought me pizza-making things I decorated a box and called my pizza shop Pizza Thea. I made silly faces.”
For further information about our Young Carers service, please visit our Young Carers section.