Jack is nine years old and lives with his family in County Armagh. He has Down’s syndrome, and as mum Sarah tells us: “His speech and language skills are delayed.”

Daily life for Jack

Jack relies heavily on Makaton and visual aids to communicate his everyday needs and wants.

“Jack’s lack of verbal communication can sometimes lead to challenging behaviours and make every day routine tasks harder to complete, such as education and personal hygiene. He relies heavily on support and supervision from me to do those things.”

Jack has a brother, and Sarah says that although he has a loving relationship with his brother:

The communication barrier presents its problems.

"Jack much prefers his own company with his tablet or games console, and doesn’t really engage with any games or activities with his brother.”

Though Jack prefers his own company, Sarah says that Jack loves watching movies and acting them out. “He’s quite the performer when it comes to acting, singing and dancing. He must own four different microphones with disco lights built in. He loves Ant and Dec, playing Mario and Luigi games on his Nintendo Switch and visiting his Granda Pat, Jack’s favourite person.”

Challenges and impacts for Jack

“During the Coronavirus lockdown, Jack struggled with being cooped up indoors, and with the change in his daily routine.” Jack currently attends a special school, and Sarah explains that when the schools were closed, “it really affected him.”

“When Family Fund made it possible to apply again early, I jumped at the chance and thought long and hard about what would benefit all of us as a family – an outdoor item was top of my list."

Having something we could all enjoy together, and benefit Jack developmentally, was a priority.

How we helped

Sarah applied for a Lay-Z Spa. “Since getting the spa, Jack’s behaviour has improved, as has his overall health. He gets more physical activity and it has even reduced the need for Jack to have as much medication for his continence issues.”

How it’s made a difference

On top of the benefits to Jack’s behaviour and health, the Lay-Z Spa has helped Jack and his brother grow closer. “His relationship with his brother has most definitely blossomed and there’s nothing more they both enjoy than swimming round and round, chasing each other with the tune of ‘Baby Shark’ in the background.”

“I can’t thank Family Fund enough for their help towards getting our Lay-Z Spa. We had a previous award for a Haven family break which was due to take place in August, but with the current Coronavirus situation, we rescheduled the break for 2021."

We cannot wait to go and make more happy memories together.

“Without Family Fund these little luxuries would just not be possible. They are a godsend to children with additional needs and their families. Thank you Family Fund.”


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