Jamie is eight years old and lives with his mum Sandra, dad Robert and older brother Craig, in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Jamie has autism, learning difficulties and is non-verbal. As mum Sandra explains, “He gets very frustrated because of the lack of communication between himself and everybody else. You don’t always know what’s wrong with him, or why, and he can’t say.”

Jamie was first diagnosed with autism when he was three years old, and the most challenging part of his condition has consistently been communication. “Communication is very challenging. Jamie will say the odd word now and again. Things like ‘shoes’ and ‘out’, but it’s all very few and far between.”

Since his diagnosis, Jamie has only been seen by a paediatrician once, and that was two and a half years ago. “We’ve been struggling with support. Since his previous paediatrician retired, no one’s picked it up and arranged a new one. Thankfully, after such a long wait, we’re in the early stages of having one sorted out, so things are hopefully moving on.”

Because of the lack of support, Jamie’s developmental age has yet to be assessed, though Sandra says it is around a three year old level. “I’m hoping his new paediatrician will assess him.”

Daily life for Jamie

Jamie is currently changing schools and is moving to a new special needs school. “He’s been at a special needs school but it just wasn’t enough support for him. He had good days and bad days there, but it was too noisy for him in the classroom. Fingers crossed his new school will be better. There will only be a maximum of six children in the classroom, and there’s more staff as well.”

For Sandra, whilst Jamie’s schooling has been positive, his condition means she is constantly in contact with Jamie’s teachers.

“I’m always getting phone calls from his school to go and collect him. You have to drop what you’re doing to pick him up. Hopefully that will stop when he goes to his new school.”

Outside of education, Jamie is a keen fan of the outdoors, and enjoys spending time exploring. “He loves going outside, and he loves the garden. Of course Jamie’s behaviour is up and down. He has mood swings – he’s happy one minute and the next he can get aggressive. Being outside is a calming space for him. He loves going to the woods where it’s quiet.”

“He loves his tablet and DVDs too. He likes character toys like Micky Mouse, he has loads of them.”

How we helped 

“I heard about Family Fund through a few close friends at a mother’s group. They explained about the charity and encouraged me to apply.”

Jamie’s first grant was for a buggy to help Jamie feel safe and secure when he was outside in different environments. Jamie’s second grant was for a trampoline and outdoor play equipment as he loves being outside, whilst his third grant with Family Fund was for sensory toys.

How it’s made a difference

“Jamie’s buggy was his safe space. Of course he’s outgrown it now as it received it when he was five years old, so we’ve given it to another autistic child.”

For Jamie, with his love of the outdoors, his grant for a trampoline and outdoor play equipment “came at a really good time. We’d moved house and were spending some money doing different parts of it up. Family Fund grants were a great help in creating an outdoor area for him. Somewhere he can enjoy his trampoline and now his sensory toys. We’re currently in the middle of decking the shed out for him and making him a sensory den with the third grant – the sensory toys. He loves his beanbag and his big cushion.”

“As a family the grants have helped us financially. I don’t work because I’m Jamie’s full-time carer. His dad Robert works in the evenings.”

“Thank you Family Fund, your support is much appreciated.”

 Find out more about our grants and how to apply