Ryan is nine years old, and lives in Surrey. “Ryan is diagnosed as having autism, and struggles with different aspects of everyday life,” explains his mum, Verity. “He is verbal, but his speech is delayed. He has problems verbalising himself sometimes, which makes him frustrated, and can bring on a meltdown.”

“He has dyspraxia, and has problems doing things like buttons or tying shoe laces. His low muscle tone means that he can’t do things like kick a ball or run. He doesn’t have a lot of social understanding either.”

“It can be hard at home. He has an older sister who doesn’t live at home anymore, but his younger sister does. She has grown up with him, and he does take a lot of his frustrations out on her. When we are out and about, and he decides that he doesn’t want to do something, he gets anxious. People look at him and just see a naughty child, which is still very hard to deal with.”

 “I think I first found out about Family Fund through other parents that I know who have children with autism. The application process was easy. I was quite worried about the home visit before it happened, but it was fine in the end. It was nothing to worry about.”

“The first time I applied, I applied for a scanner so that I could put all of our documents onto our computer. I didn’t realise how much money would be available to me, and a man rang me and helped me decide what else would help the family. It ended up being incredibly helpful with things like school uniforms and shoes. We also used some money for software for the iPad, which was also very helpful.”

“The last application we did was for a holiday. It’s not cheap to go on holiday, and Ryan had wanted to go to Blackpool to see the illuminations. It was beyond our means for the family to go, as he has sisters too. It made us possible for us all to go on break together.”

“It is hard finding the money to go on a break, especially when you are on Universal Credit. We wouldn’t have been able to do this family break if we hadn’t received a grant, and life would have been harder for our family without it.”