"I’ve eaten 25 sensory beads already Mum" Jae's story

Staff member Jae shares her experience of working at The Hamlet and explains how her work has impacted not only on the lives of the children and families she supports, but her own family too.
I’ve eaten 25 sensory beads already Mum

My sister worked at The Hamlet for a long time prior to my time so I had already heard of the charity before I applied for work. To be honest, it wasn’t something that I had considered. My friend convinced me to apply though and gave me the boost to have the courage to go for it. I’m so pleased I did!”

 “My first day as a support worker was great. My second day was a completely different ball game and the children really challenged me. I went home and said to my husband that I just didn’t think I could do it. My husband said that was ridiculous. The staff at the Hamlet said the same!  The staff are so supportive. I have never felt that I have been on my own at the Hamlet. I have never worked somewhere where I have been told that I am good at what I’m doing.

The training is so well organised and varied. You get opportunities to learn so many new skills. Importantly though, once you have done your training you are not expected to know everything. You have to learn it on the job so you need the support of the fantastic staff team to do this.

 “My eldest boy has a diagnosis of ASD. This personal experience has definitely supported my work. I have had the experience of knowing something was different about my child since the day he was born, but never being listened or believed by anyone when I tried to share this. He didn’t get his diagnosis until the age of 11 and even then it is a daily battle to get the right support. I see this with the parents I meet at The Hamlet. I can relate to the needs of  families so much! When my 13 year old son was little, going to toddler groups was really hard! I can see how, at The Hamlet, the parents are supportive of one another; sharing information, listening and understanding; something no one else can do. Since I have been Stay and Play Worker I have seen the children from Active Bees progress to the Early Explorers Preschool. This has been amazing to be part of and the parents have been so thankful. I don’t think they ever thought their child was going to be able to access preschool provision. It’s brilliant!

Some things can be challenging especially when someone has some difficult behaviours. I think that you need to be really positive and try and find something to laugh about. I guess this is easy for me when I think of my own child. I bought him some sensory beads for a birthday once, and a while after using them he came to me and said, “I’ve eaten 25 of them already. You better take these beads away from me.” Jae laughs! “And that’s nothing. I don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not worth worrying about. I focus on the bigger picture.

I didn’t think I would be capable of doing this work, but I now know that I am. I really can’t imagine working anywhere else where I could feel and be like

"My friend convinced me to apply though and gave me the boost to have the courage to go for it. I’m so pleased I did!"

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