Vicki has been working with my family as a play specialist on and off for the past 6 years. Initially she supported me to play with and interact with my son, who has significant medical and developmental needs. As he got older, she visited him at home, at school and in hospital, to help him him grow in confidence in terms of moving and speaking, to encourage him with messy play and to help him learn how to have fun. She did a lot of work with us around managing his chronic pain. She has also spent time with our daughter to help her understand and normalise the role of hospitals and medical interventions in our lives.
Vicki is an incredibly kind and caring person. She always manages to combine total professionalism with wonderful insight and understanding. I am so grateful to her for providing so much positive influence in our lives.
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Vicki has been working with my family since November 2017 when we were in the throes of losing my wife / their mother. She established a trusting relationship with my 2 boys and helped me and my wife with telling them about her illness. They knew she had cancer but not aware of the outcome. Vicki has continued to support the boys by visiting when appropriate to their needs. Sometimes this was weekly, sometimes fortnightly and we are slowly moving to only holiday time. She has even Skyped on a couple of occasions when we have been away.
Vicki has always been there for both myself and my boys, allowing them to process their thoughts and feelings in their own time and providing both normal and therapeutically appropriate activities for trying times.
Arthur (Father). Surrey, Aug 2018.
‘Vicki's service has been great for myself and my daughter. She offered me a 15 minute telephone appointment to discuss my concerns and followed up with an hour consultation / assessment with myself and my 6 year old daughter. Vicki recommended 6 sessions of developmental play to begin with and reviewed this at week 4. We took a break from Vicki's service but put into action the strategies, games and techniques Vicki had put in place. Vicki came back for a further 4 sessions to see how things had developed. As i had built in confidence and my daughter and I were having fun, developing our imagination and skills, the play sessions with Vicki came to a natural end. Knowing that i would be offered a block of play sessions in advance, allowed me to know how much i was paying and the time scale.
Vicki in very organised, practical, fun loving, professional and completely understanding of our needs. We would recommend her to anyone.
Tabitha: Balham, June 2019
Joanne (Parent): London 2015
Vicky supported our daughter and my entire family for over 3 years of her cancer treatment, from new diagnosis at the age of 4 - 7. Vicky had an immediate and transformational impact on Vanessa's ability to express herself through play, and to cope with her hardship of treatment. Thanks to Vicky, Vanessa quickly learned how to get through her radiotherapy and long MRI scans without sedation, which is remarkable for a 5 year old and would have been unthinkable without Vicky's help. She explained to my wife and I the anxieties that all my daughters would be feeling and invested significant time building relationships with my older daughter, who she even went to collect from school on regular occasions to build a close bond. Alongside our Oncologist, Vicky has been the most important person in my daughter's treatment. We were so excited when she was recognised at Play Specialist of the year - never was a reward more deserving. Any family in Vicky's care will find her to be the brightest shining light during a time of great darkness. And years later we still miss seeing her.
I contacted The Play Specialist Service and spoke to Vicki about my son having an MRI without general anaesthetic and if she would be able to help as he has huge anxieties in regards to hospitals and medical procedures. Vicki visited the family home and completed an assessment of my son's development including his anxiety levels and cognitve ability. She suggested working with him for 10 weeks for up to 1 hour sessions. Some sessions were shorter than others due to his tiredness. Vicki came with a Lego MRI, photographs, visual aids of the hospital he would be attending, built an MRI out of boxes, brought a CD and DVD showing the procedure and noise levels and played sleeping lions. My son had a total of 13 sessions but did get through the MRI without sedative. This was a short term solution to which had been a long term problem and we are very pleased to have found Vicki's service.
Mary: London: November 2017
Parker, Loving father of very ill child (Parent)