Eva is six years old and lives with mum Lisa in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Eva has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning difficulties and is non-verbal. Her ASD diagnosis links to a range of symptoms and behaviours and is an umbrella term that covers autism, Asperger’s and pervasive developmental disorders.

As mum Lisa explains, “Due to Eva being non-verbal, it’s incredibly difficult for others to understand what Eva needs and what she wants. She has a developmental age of someone much younger and it can be hard for her to co-operate, especially at the doctors and at the dentist.”

Lisa is Eva’s full-time carer. “I don’t work at the minute as she attends her special needs school from 9.00am until 1.00pm. I’m hoping I can find something part-time.”

                                  

Daily life with Eva

Eva has meltdowns that can last a long time, and as Lisa says, they can happen when, “she’s very upset. Eva also needs to hum and sometimes make noises or cover her ears to cope, and it can be difficult for others to understand why she needs to do it. She’s a very picky eater and has a sensitive gag reflex which means she won’t eat or try certain foods. Because of this she need iron supplements and specific vitamins to make up for it.” Eva tries to run away too, especially when she’s out shopping or at the car park, and has little danger awareness.

                             

Yet, as Lisa notes, “Eva is a high energy little girl and is always on the move. She likes to have the same routine every day and loves playing outdoors on her UFO swing and in her playhouse. She loves watching SpongeBob Squarepants on her tablet, and playing with things like playdough.”

Eva enjoys swimming and playing outdoors. “She loves pizza, one of the things she will eat! As well as snuggling down on her giant Pokémon cushion and reading her books.”

                            

How we helped

The first grant the family received was for a tablet. This was followed by a grant for new bed, and in 2018 the family received a grant for a playhouse.

                       

“Eva loves her tablet and her playhouse. In fact, I’d say they are her two favourite things. She loves playing in her kitchen in the playhouse, and sometimes she’ll sit at her little table in there and watch SpongeBob Squarepants on her tablet.”

“Family Fund has made an amazing difference to our lives.”

 Find out more about our grants and how to apply