THE summer holidays can be a challenging time for parents, but for parents of children with disabilities and learning difficulties the pressures can be even greater.

Vicky Robinson cares for her eight-year-old son Lewis who has learning difficulties and is awaiting an ADHD and autism diagnosis.

Lewis attends Russell Hall Primary school in Queensbury where he has one-to-one help from a learning support mentor, and he attends a club before school to help with his homework.

Vicky says Lewis struggles to concentrate for periods of time and has to take regular lesson breaks at school. He also works with a teaching assistant who sets him individual learning targets, and he carries out his work in bite-size chunks.

“It can be very difficult getting Lewis to concentrate on anything and although we have been given different strategies to work with it can be very confusing for me and for him as to which one works best," says Vicky, 33, a family support worker at Victoria Hall Children's Centre in Queensbury.

“He loves science and his fact books, but he finds it difficult to write things down and does some work on a tablet.

“Finding the right methods and strategies to support him is tricky, but we’ll get there.

“The summer holidays can be difficult as Lewis needs to be kept busy but finding suitable activities, which his little sister can also go to as she’s only two, can be a challenge. Children with additional needs often need a structure to their days and knowing what is going on throughout the holidays would be a big help for many parents. It can be a difficult time of year.”

With support from Carers’ Resource, based in Shipley, Vicky has been working with a case-worker on an Emergency Plan. She set up Can Be's, a support group for parent carers, last year and raised funds for sensory play equipment, which is now at the Jungle at the Junction play centre in Black Dyke Mill, Queensbury.

“Unfortunately it’s been difficult keeping a group going because of finding volunteers to support it, but I’m here to support parent carers, offer a listening ear and let them know they're not alone,” says Vicky.

Anne Smyth, director of Carers’ Resource which runs an integrated carers service for Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, said: “The summer holidays can be a welcome break for many but for parent carers they can also throw up extra challenges and pressures.

“Our Information Team has compiled a fact sheet of groups, activities and events that we are aware of for children with additional needs during the summer break, and we hope this will help to address and alleviate some of the needs and concerns of parent carers across the district."

Activities include short breaks for children and young people with or away from their primary carer; Bradford Disability Swimming Club; Junior Sports Academy; Bradford Disability Football Club; Walk this Way; Bradford Jets Wheelchair Basketball group; Multi-sports; Haworth Riding for the Disabled Holiday Club; St Ives Riding for the Disabled; Chellow Heights School Stay and Play; disability-friendly cinema screenings; Eccleshill Adventure Playground; and Special Inclusion Project.

Carers’ Resource, which is in contact with about 12,500 carers, offers one-to-one support, information, support groups, employment and training advice, planning for emergencies and wellbeing support.

The charity supports carers in a variety of circumstances, from looking after children with learning difficulties to caring for an older relative with dementia.

There are more than three million carers in the UK who are juggling work and caring responsibilities. Anyone can become a carer at any time, and the caring role can be instant, such as the result of a road traffic accident or stroke, or can develop gradually, when an elderly parents becomes increasingly frail, for example. It is estimated that three in five of us will become a carer in our lifetime.

Carers come from all walks of life and cultures and can be of any age. Men are almost as likely as women to be carers, with 42per cent of carers being men.

* For more about Carers Resource visit

* For more about Can Be’s contact Vicky Robinson on (01274) 432690.