Learning Disability Week 2023. Foster Carer Talks, Fostering Children With Disabilities 

21st June, 2023

It’s learning disability week, and we here at Capstone are proud to stand with Mencap, dispelling misconceptions about those living with a learning disability and also shining a light on some of the wonderful work that is happening, right here, within our Capstone team.

Recently, we caught up with Paul and Diane who foster two children, their foster son, who has a disability and their foster daughter who lives with emotional and behavioural issues. On top of this they also support a child, also with disabilities, with regular breaks. These young people all have a chance in life, thanks to the couple.

What inspired you to start fostering children with learning disabilities?

Diane has always lived in a fostering household, she grew up with foster siblings, which she loved although she witnessed firsthand how hard it was on her family to say goodbye when the children moved on.

However, she set this difficulty aside in 2011, when, having worked as an administrative assistant in the local council’s Children’s and Families team, she could see how needed foster carers were – her and Paul had to do something, and they became foster parents themselves.

Then came the incredible Paralympics of 2016. Diane and Paul were inspired. Fate intervened and the couple were sent a referral for a trio of siblings, one disabled. With the Paralympics fresh on their minds, seeing all that those with a disability could achieve with the right encouragement, the couple agreed, despite having no formal training.

The rest, as they say, is history.

How is fostering a child with learning disabilities different?

Their foster son is 15 now, although he has the learning age of a 7-year-old. Diane told us,

“In the early days it was a huge learning curve.

“Getting him transferred to our doctors, finding him the right paediatrician, as well as learning how to cater to his specific needs. It was a lot. Of course, you have your dark moments when you wonder if you have done the right thing. But now we wouldn’t change a thing.”

Diane and Paul continue still, always striving to give him better opportunities with their constant support. Indeed, the couple say that he is much changed from when he first arrived and he would barely speak, now they use words like ‘cheeky’ and ‘resilient’ to describe his character, both beaming as they do. With the right support now in place, thanks to the hard work of his foster parents, he also attends mainstream school which has a special needs unit, giving a slice of the normal life he so deserves.

What does the future look like for looked after children with disabilities?

“This is his home. We love him.”

Were Paul’s exact words to us when we asked what the future holds. Their bond is clear, as is the fact that their foster son will remain with them beyond the age of 18. They said that their family barely register his disability now, it is part of him and they accept all of his unique quirks.

Diane also talked of aspirations for college and employment, which is incredible to hear. Diane and Paul come across as very humble, often referring to themselves as ‘getting on with it’, when they are nothing short of exceptional. Their quiet positivity and support has lifted this young man up, now allowing his potential to shine through.

“Who knows what his potential is.”

Diane continued, “we don’t see any less of a future for him. What’s important is to be realistic, to recognise his limitations and not set him up for disappointment. We are dedicated to finding the right place for him, in education and beyond.”

Wise words for anyone who is considering fostering. It is with this in mind that the family support him in his hobbies and passions, understanding that it is impossible for him to simply pop out with his friends. Instead, the family can often be found spending their Saturdays on the buses, taking trips and stopping off for lunch together, encouraging his passion for transportation.

 

If Diane and Paul’s story has inspired you and you would like to know more about fostering with Capstone, please do give us a call on 0800 012 4004 where one of our friendly team is waiting to talk to you.

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

you may be also interested in

Blogs

13th February, 2024

Making a difference with Parent & Child fostering.

Blogs

31st January, 2024

National Storytelling Week. The benefits of a bedtime story.

Blogs

23rd January, 2024

“Why we wouldn’t swap our busy lives.”

Sign-up for our Newsletter

By signing up, you will receive our latest fostering stories every two months.

SIGN-UP NOW

Find out more about fostering with Capstone.

Download our helpful guide to becoming a foster carer

Download Now

Ways to
GET IN TOUCH

Start the conversation today. Our team of friendly advisors are on hand to answer any foster care questions you may have. We can offer you honest and practical advice that can help you decide if becoming a foster carer is the right path for you. 


Request a
call back

Contact us by completing our online form and one of our fostering advisors will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours.



Call us

Contact us by phone and one of our friendly fostering experts will be on hand for any foster care advice and support you require.



Download a Brochure

Download our helpful guide to becoming a foster carer with Capstone Foster Care.