Skye is nine years old and lives with her family in Plymouth. She has attachment disorder, cognitive development delay and sensory processing disorder. As mum Carol-Ann explains, “Every day is a challenge – I constantly have to read Skye’s mood and her anxiety in order to adapt and change her environment or social situation.”

Daily life and challenges for Skye

“The most challenging aspect of daily life is the feeling of walking on egg shells, and trying to avoid situations that will trigger her anxiety or aggressive reactions.” Carol-Ann tells us that Skye has to follow the same routine each day, or she can become “deregulated, which can then lead to her becoming aggressive and unpredictable with her responses.”

“Skye also finds school emotionally challenging. She often holds all her emotion, fear and anxiety in at school, and it’s not until the end of the day, when she comes home, that she releases all the pent up emotion and fear which means it’s almost impossible to get her to engage with any further learning or decision making.”

Skye struggles with friendships: “She is constantly misinterpreting facial expressions or things her peers may say.”

Impact of Skye’s condition on the family

Carol-Ann explains that it can be difficult to go out as a family. “If Skye is having an anxious or hyper-vigilant day, she is unable to deal with busy places, lots of noise or people. She will often have a meltdown, become aggressive towards me or become over emotional with fear. It often results in abandoning plans at the last minute or even during an event."

Her anxiety around school is such that I’ve had to stop working for the moment in order to be available to support her emotionally or even physically, at school.

How we’ve helped

Carol-Ann first heard about Family Fund through a friend who had received a grant, and a professional who was assessing Skye during her diagnosis. Carol-Ann applied for a laptop, and received the grant during June 2020 – a time when the family were in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown.

How it’s made a difference

The laptop has aided Skye with her education. “She is easily frustrated when accessing school work as our old laptop was so slow. It would often end up being thrown off the table, but thanks to Family Fund, her new laptop is quick and she can access many different learning pages that were not able to operate on the old laptop system.”

“The grant has reduced her frustration and in the long term, the laptop will be invaluable in helping Skye complete her work without having to physically write.” Skye has hypermobility in her upper limbs, which means writing is incredibly uncomfortable for her.

“She’s a very happy little girl – thank you.”