Elliot is nine years old, and lives in Lancashire. “Elliot is severely autistic, so he is non-verbal, hypermobile, and has sensory issues,” explains his mum, Sarah. “Family life is affected a lot. We struggle to get out with his brother and sister as much as a normal family would, because of Elliot’s sensory issues.”

“He doesn’t sleep well, and is up most of the night, and we have to have safety gates everywhere, because he has no awareness of danger. We use a specialist buggy when going out anywhere, but it is incredibly big, and can be hard to take places.”

“He was a lot younger when we first applied for Family Fund, so we applied for a bubble lamp to meet some of his sensory needs. It changes colours, so he got a lot of joy from it at the time, and he still does now. It’s still up in his room.”

“With our most recent application, we wanted to encourage Elliot to play in the garden, so applied for a nest swing. He has got a brother who is disabled as well, and an older sister. I just wanted them to bond more with him. They are able to push him while he sits on it, and it has improved things like his ability to hold eye contact with them. It also allows him to learn about things such as turn taking too.”

“We wouldn’t have been able to afford these things ourselves. They would have cost a fortune. We have applied for an iPad before, and that has been amazing for keeping him calm. The swing has helped with his balance issues, and has also helped him bond with his brother and sister. It’s hard to find something that they can all play with together. It improves his wellbeing all round really.”

“Family Fund has been amazing. It is specifically for him, and I know I can’t afford it myself. You have been very helpful.”