Joseph stars in the McCain and Family Fund: 'Little Moments' TV Advert


Joseph is 10 and lives with his mum, Catherine, in Nottinghamshire. Joseph has autism.

Catherine says that “People need to know that autism is no different to having a broken leg, as in just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

Joseph’s condition

Catherine explains that “Joseph has Asperger’s, and has the most amazing personality. He’s very quirky, and loves being the centre of attention.

“He’s so intelligent too, and can become obsessive with things. He loves maths and science. He knows Pi, and the periodic table, and he is saving up his pocket money to go to NASA. He also loves Phillip Schofield and will sit with me watching hours of videos of him on YouTube.

“His co-ordination isn’t good, and he can’t run very well. At school, he does gardening instead of PE.”

Catherine adds that Joseph’s behaviour can be challenging. “He can have meltdowns, especially at the moment when there’s a fire alarm at school. He runs and has no sense of danger. He doesn’t like the buzzing from the freezers at the supermarket. We’ll sit on the floor together, and I’ll hold him tight as we calm down. He gets so worked up he can hardly breathe. People don’t understand though.”

Joseph is Catherine’s only child, so she says that “I have nothing to compare him to. It’s only when I see him with other children that I notice the differences. But I know that he knows his own mind, and knows how he wants to do things.”


Daily life for the family 

Catherine says that “Most of our day routine is quite normal. I take him to school, and get started on my work.

“He has a limited diet, so for dinner I’d make him something like chicken nuggets and chips, and then he gets a chocolate lolly. Those are his favourite, as he doesn’t like stickers.”

Catherine is a chocolatier, and Joseph helps her to make her products. “We enjoy making chocolate together. He especially enjoys designing the labels for me to put on the chocolate.”

Joseph also enjoys watching videos and playing games on his tablet. “He will often go on his tablet and play things like Fortnite, but he’s also obsessed with animation, and watching YouTube videos on animation. He’s like a sponge when it comes to learning, and just takes everything in.”


How we helped

“Family Fund changed our lives. The family break grants gave us the opportunity for us to get away from the same four walls of everyday life. I’m a single parent, and a self-employed chocolatier, so money can be tight. Every bar I sell means a meal for Joseph.

“Our first break was to Haven, but we found that a bit busy. So next we started going to a house boat in Norfolk, and static homes there. We go to a beach called Bacton, which is lovely and quiet.”


How it’s made a difference

“The breaks are an escape for us, and Joseph is definitely calmer afterwards. When he’s been in nature and seen wildlife he’s so different.

“Joseph hadn’t really been on holiday before the grant. I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity to go now.”

Find out how to apply for a Family Fund grant

Read more family stories here