October 27, 2023

Lynton and Lisa – Embracing change

Lisa says encouraging her middle son Lynton to spend some time living in residential care was the most difficult thing she’s ever had to do. And she’s no stranger to difficulty.

Lisa has shown remarkable resilience over her lifetime. A mother to three sons, she’s overcome multiple challenges including experiencing the loss of her mobility after a car accident and having survived cancer.

Lisa’s resilience has been more recently tested by tension and conflict unsettling her family home. All three of her boys have had their own challenges.  Physical, emotional and mental health concerns have made it difficult for them to manage their own behaviours at times. But Lynton in particular has found it hard to navigate his feelings – often something small could overwhelm him and trigger an unsociable emotional response.

“He had no tolerance,” Lisa explains. “He just couldn’t express himself properly… So we were walking on eggshells. You just didn’t know when it was going to erupt. But as soon as it erupted, you knew you just had to evacuate.”

When the build-up of tension in Lisa’s house and between her sons reached breaking point, Lisa says she had no choice but to admit it was all too much. She knew there needed to be some separation but at the same time wanted to be there to offer her son support.

“I didn’t want to turn him away, of course. I wanted him home. As much as we could have him here. But by the same token, he had to be able to regulate his emotions.”

To create a more peaceful home environment, Lisa supported Lynton to spend some time in residential care where he could find some breathing room while the family worked to relieve stress and resolve conflict.

Lynton was eventually provided with a caravan in the backyard at home so he could have his own space and reunite with his Mum and brothers. While initially effective as a temporary accommodation solution, the condition of the van was barely liveable and at well over six feet tall, Lynton was cramped and uncomfortable.

After some months observing the living situation and the family dynamics, Lynton’s Support Worker, Kylie, identified a need that could be met with the addition of a Kids Under Cover studio.

“I’ve seen the way family dynamics can change and how people need their own space,” Kylie says. “And working alongside Lynton, I could see there was a need there – for him to have his own space to grow and for Lisa to feel calmer.”

After doing some research, Kylie found Kids Under Cover and helped the family apply for a studio. She could see how important it was that Lynton had the support of his family but also how he would benefit from having his own comfortable living space to help navigate his family relationships in a more constructive way.

“He’s a really kind-hearted, good human being and he really deserves this. And that’s why I’ve wanted to fight so hard for him to have this chance. He’s a kind soul and I could see how this could be life-changing.”

Lynton’s case is an example of how an early intervention model of support can bring a turning point for a family and disrupt negative patterns for a young person in need of a change of environment. The studio allows Lynton ownership of his environment and behaviour without removing him from the love and care he needs.

And for Lisa, there’s a huge sense of relief. And a feeling that Lynton now has the opportunity to move forward with dignity.

“Having the studio feels like we’ve given him somewhere that he can now kick goals from,” she says. “It has to start somewhere and it feels like now – finally after all these years – we’ve got a base. That for me, as a mum, is very much a relief. I hope he just gets the chance to achieve as much as he can. That’s all I can ask. If he’s happy, we’re happy.”

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Families are at breaking point right now. The worsening rental situation is pushing affordable housing out of reach.

Getting on with the job

Liam has had a clear vision of his career path since he first started working at a family friend’s automotive refinishing business as a youngster.
“I loved it. So I decided to go to my local. And I’ve been here for two years now.  I like to think that in the years to come, and with the knowledge I gain on the job, I could become a mentor for new apprentices that come through the shop.”

Liam is one of two recipients of Kids Under Cover’s 2023 Ken & Lenka Morgan Scholarship. Recipients are identified from our Studio Program as being exceptional young talent with a clear educational pathway which would benefit from the boost the scholarship can bring.

As part of his apprenticeship, Liam spends a week every month doing theory training about an hour away from home. The funds from his scholarship will help with fuel and accommodation for this part of his training, among other things.