I’m Chelsea, aged 8. I live at home with my mum and sister. I help to look after and support my 9-year-old sister, Phoebe. Phoebe has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Autism Spectrum Condition. This means that she sometimes finds it harder to communicate with others, gets anxious or upset about social situations or events and is easily distracted and loses concentration. Phoebe can also show compulsive and obsessive behaviour, which can mean life at home for mum and me is often quite emotional and scary.
A typical day in my life
On a normal day, I try to encourage and teach my sister. I help to calm her down during an emotional meltdown and I speak up for her in social situations.
I used to go to school with my sister, but she has been out of school the past six months and is starting a new school soon. I’ve found Phoebe not going to school with me really hard as I’ve had to become more independent and leave mum and Phoebe to it at home.
Whilst at clubs together, I look out for my sister which can mean I don’t always get to spend time with my own friends as much as I’d like to.
At home, I give up a lot to help her sister and sometimes feel down and sad after trying to reassure or boost my sister’s mood.
I sometimes miss out on fun activities that other children do, like playing games at home, going outside on her my and visiting the beach with my family. This is because Phoebe struggles a lot with aggression at home and often gets overwhelmed emotionally. This means she sometimes will refuse to leave home and she therefore needs a lot of support from us.
I may only be 8, but I have big dreams for the future. I want to be a tennis player or a singer when I’m older.
My favourite subjects at school are Art, History and PE and I love crafting at home.
Chelsea’s mum adds:
“Chelsea doesn’t give up on her sister. She is really mature and independent for her age, has developed great empathy for others and is good at dealing with difficult situations.”
Chelsea’s mum believes that her school struggles to understand Chelsea’s role as a young carer, who provides a lot of emotional for her sister. This is unfortunately a common feeling, which is why here at Carer Support Dorset, we want to raise awareness for young carers everywhere and to let them know that we hear them.