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A day in the life of Shafy Hafiz, Special Education Needs Disability Facilitator in Luton Children’s Community Health Services

Shafy Hafiz, Special Education Needs Disability Facilitator in Luton Children’s Community Health Services

Shafy moved from her role as a nursery nurse, supporting the health visitors, into the Edwin Lobo Centre team in the middle of the pandemic lockdown in May. This meant that she had to work from home supporting the families of children who have been referred to Luton’s Edwin Lobo Centre for a multi-disciplinary assessment and placed on the waiting list.  After several months of home working, which she admitted was lonely and difficult at times, she is now based at Redgrave Garden Children’s Centre.

Shafy’s typical day begins at 8.30am but she is still not able to make home visits to the families she supports because of Covid and has to help them over the phone. She has just completed training to support families by video call and hopes that, after initial contact by phone, she may be able to use this virtual link for follow up calls.

Shafy’s initial call is designed to reassure families that are still on the waiting list while explaining the restrictions on the service caused by Covid. “Most of them are very understanding,” she said. “But some might be feeling isolated; they are not coping very well with their child’s behaviour or are facing toileting or sleep issues. Some are worried that their child is preparing to start nursery or school and they want to make sure they get the right support. It could be that their child hasn’t had his or her referral to a speech therapist and they are concerned that this could cause problems as they move on especially if they don’t have an EHCP plan in place. This can be a very emotional and challenging time for some families.

“Before Covid, I could make a home visit to see the home environment, what type of play equipment they have, see whether they are spending a lot of time on the ipad or in front of the TV or maybe visit the child’s bedroom to understand more about their sleep routine. At the moment, I can’t do this which makes it a little more difficult, but I can give them reassurance, signpost the families to websites where they can find support or Facebook outdoor activities, online story-time or other online resources. I can also signpost them to the health visitors and complete two year funding nursery applications for them.”

Shafy is also shadowing nurses working with youngsters with ADHD so that she can have a better understanding of the condition. “I might have seen some of these children when they were referred at age three or four and it is interesting to learn what happens when they are older,” she said. “This helps me to reassure new parents I am supporting what their journey could be like.”

Shafy’s working day finishes at 4.30 and she enjoys meeting up with a friend for long walks and gardening to relax.