Report on experiences of a family receiving flexible outpatient assistance

David* was particularly challenging even as an infant. His mother often found herself pushed to her physical and mental limits. Without the help and support of the father, she found it increasingly difficult to look after David properly and so he began to shut himself off. Endless arguments gave rise to aggressive behaviour, not just towards her but also towards his two siblings and his mother’s new partner. He later developed problems with his peers and at school. At the age of 6 came the shocking diagnosis that David had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was during this time that David’s mother took the first step and approached the youth welfare office in Cologne- Ehrenfeld. This was a difficult but stress-relieving approach for her, unlike for many other mothers and fathers who find themselves unable to overcome their anxieties and reservations. By devising a joint assistance strategy with the family S., the youth welfare office instigated the provision of social education support for the mother and son. David was involved in the search for a suitable support worker. The ice was very quickly broken when he met social worker Igor for the first time. The two knew each other already from the Glassstrasse playground, a social area project run by the Leuchtfeuer Foundation. In the period that followed, Igor developed authentic and professional relations with David to coax him out of his withdrawn state and help him to open up. The 11-year old learns to manage his frustration and hectic life in a better way. The pair work on David’s homework together, take walks and play football and billiards.

Igor’s idea of a yellow card to represent a warning and a red card for family consequences may not have impressed his mother but it certainly appealed to football fan David!

David was able to practise this new behaviour at the Glasstrasse play area open meeting point for children and young people aged 7 to 16, as well as their families. 

*Name has been changed