We were falling into a big hole and nobody could get us out. Coming to Dandelion Time felt like we were being held whilst we healed. It’s made a huge difference and has brought back our happiness and confidence in feeling safe in the world.”
Abigail, Seb’s Mum
We were referred to Dandelion Time and from the start, they made it work. My greatest challenge was how I would get Seb to attend the sessions. Our therapist Sarah reassured me that she’d seen this many times before and suggested we visited the site before our sessions started, to help ease both of our anxieties about attending. I was hopeful that this could be key to helping Seb. I so wanted this to work, I kept thinking would it work? Would we be able to go? I didn’t think it would be possible that we would do every session.
The sessions were due to start in Bramley Barn, but Seb’s anxieties prevented him from wanting to join the other families. Recognising this, Sarah would meet us each week in the woodland with Seb’s favourite guinea pig. Gradually, Seb began to relax but remained wrapped in his comfort blanket.
I was also feeling anxious and sometimes, I wouldn’t be able to hold it together. Sarah helped me work through my anxieties, by giving me breathing techniques and encouraging me to be kind to myself. Between sessions I carried forward the happy moments from the week before and began to look forward to the sessions. She helped us both overcome our anxieties in those ten weeks.
I had become Seb’s voice, but week by week, Seb was finding his own voice. He started to take interest in what was happening around him, you could see the cheeky glint in his eye returning. The guinea pigs were key in reengaging him into the sessions, affectionally naming his favourite ‘Hairy Margaret’. During those early weeks, Seb felt unable to go outside to do activities with the other families. But that was no problem for Sarah, after realising he enjoyed cooking, particularly making pasta they would often stay behind and cook whilst the other families went into the field.
Several weeks in, we had a breakthrough moment. I’d stepped away whilst Seb was playing with the guinea pigs. Moments later, Sarah messaged me to say, “Seb was out!” He’d dropped his blanket and was running with the other children towards the animals. I cried happy tears as this was what I’d hoped for. For the first time I began to believe that there was hope for the future.
By the time our final week came round, Seb was fully integrated in sessions, even showing other children how to make moon dough. Seb had always been wary of birthday candles, yet at Dandelion Time, his confidence had grown to the point where he was able to enjoy the fire lighting activity. He had stopped drawing but as time went on, he’d began to draw again. In the early weeks, Seb’s anxiety prevented him from participating the mealtime games, but by the final week, he was not only joining in but asking to play specific games.
There’s nothing like Dandelion Time, as a family it’s made us reconnect with what brings us happiness and pride. I can’t convey how special it is. It’s enabled us to move on with our lives and Seb received 100% attendance the following term at school, which was unthinkable before we came to Dandelion Time.
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This is a composite case that is indicative of our work, names and images have been changed.
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