Thomas is 12 years old, and lives in Nottingham. “Thomas is diagnosed with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), which means he has an anxiety based need to be in control,” says his mum, Carolyn. “The simplest of tasks needs to feel as though he is deciding to do it himself. From the minute you get up, everything he does is avoiding your demands.”

“It has been a few years since I first found out about Family Fund. We got Thomas’ diagnosis and started googling help for children with autism. That’s when we came across Family Fund, and the support you provide.”

“I think it was a computer that we applied for first. Thomas was in a mainstream school at the time, and he was really interested in animation and great at designing things. The computer allowed him to make animations at home, and then put them onto a USB stick and take them into school to show people.”

“Our most recent application was for a games console. At the moment, Thomas’ health isn’t allowing him to go to school, because he can’t cope with it. He only has a couple of peers that he communicates with from his old school, and they all have PlayStations. We wanted to get him one so that they could link up online, and he wouldn’t be so isolated.”

“Now Thomas is able to stay connected, and when the weather is nice, we are able to go to a park and meet up with the friends that he has made. Without the PlayStation, Thomas would not have any contact with people his own age. It has also made him able to go and research games that he likes, which has made his reading and writing a lot better too.”

“We wouldn’t have been able to afford these things ourselves. I was an ambulance technician for 16 years, but then had to stop because Thomas requires full-time care. I’m a single parent as well, so I just wouldn’t have the money spare.”