Jack is nine years old, and lives in Belfast. “Jack has autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and in the last year or so has developed quite bad anxiety,” says his mum, Lauryn.

“He doesn’t go out and play, he doesn’t have many friends. He just stays in the house by himself. School has been a major issue, because there are so many people around him. He just doesn’t know how to deal with that.”

“There are everyday things that he struggles to do by himself as well, like getting up and getting ready. There always has to be someone to remind him what to do and how to do it, which you wouldn’t have to do for most other nine year old children.”

“We found out about Family Fund two years ago now, when my son was diagnosed with autism. People told me that applications like this were hard to do, but it was so easy. We just filled out the forms and said what it was we wanted, and a guy came out to do a home visit and ask about our lives.”

“We decided to apply for an iPad. My son didn’t go to school for a while, because he had quite bad anxiety. He now goes for short periods, and they’ve had great results using an iPad with him. They can use it as a reward system, and it makes it easier for him to do things. He now spends more time in school, and his anxiety has gone down.”

“The iPad helps with every day things at home as well. There is an app that reminds him to do certain tasks like brush his teeth. We can make a checklist of things that he has to do that day, and he is able to go back and forth and check that he is doing everything. Then when he has done everything he needs to, he can be rewarded by playing a game on there. I don’t know how we lived without an iPad before.”

“It would have taken us a long time to be able to try and save the money that we needed. I don’t work, as I had to come out of work to take care of Jack. We only have my partner’s wage, and we have to pay our rent and everything with that.”

“Family Fund is brilliant. It is such an easy process to go through. It is amazing to have a group of people out there who will help you provide something for your child that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.”

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