Kaden is five years old and lives with his mum Catherine and siblings in Newcastle, County Down. Kaden has autism, and as Catherine explains, “I

 am a single mum, and life can be hectic at times.”

 Autism refers to a broad range of conditions, with challenges in areas such as speech, non-verbal communication, social skills and repeated behaviours. As autism is a spectrum disorder, each case is different. For Kaden, his autism ‘is very challenging.’

"Ever since Kaden was diagnosed, we have been in a strict routine. He has always benefitted from a routine and I follow through with it daily as it helps him.” Yet as Catherine tells us, “Kaden is in mainstream school, and whilst his first year was a rocky, he has come on so well. He loves school and is very intelligent.” 

Daily challenges for Kaden and his family

 Catherine explains that daily life can be challenging. “Life for me is difficult and it can be stressful. It can be hard on me. I have no time for myself.”

 “There isn’t much support in our area of Northern Ireland, for myself or for Kaden.”

Catherine struggles with anxiety, and it prevents her from traveling too far from home. “I have bad anxiety and travel can be tricky.” She tells us that whilst there are some courses available that could help both herself, Kaden and the family, they are not easy to attend. “I can’t get the childcare I need to attend everything.” It is especially difficult as Catherine has three children under the age of ten.

How we helped

 “My friend was the one who told me about Family Fund. The first time I applied was for sensory toys from Learning Space. Earlier this year I applied for a family break through Inspire. It was all sorted with a few weeks which was fab.”

How it’s made a difference

 The family break was used to “go away together as a family for the first time.”

 “We went to a holiday house in County Donegal. I wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too far from home as it was Kaden’s first time away. The journey in the car was a bit much for him but he absolutely loved the break. We all had an amazing time together as a family and I am so thankful to Family Fund for helping us.”