As part of the McCain partnership, we speak to parent Melissa and her son Fraizer about how the senses shape their world.

“Just because my mind is a is a bit different it doesn't mean I'm weird. Doesn't mean I'm an outcast. I'm still a person, it's just, I just need a bit more help with things.”

Fraizer is 13 and lives with his big sister and mum, Melissa in Havant, Hampshire.

Melissa says; “Fraizer doesn’t look like he has a disability, but he will skip and flap in the street and people will give him funny looks. That’s just the way he walks, he never keeps still.”

 

Fraizer’s condition and how it affects him

Fraizer was diagnosed when he was eight years old. “He has high functioning autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), but before his diagnosis he would be extremely violent and we didn’t know why.”

“He is very, very likable and interesting to the adults around him, who seem to like his company. If an adult talks to him about a subject that he enjoys he will talk their hind legs off. Ask any teacher in his school and they will say he is very talkative, but a loveable character. He is also very intelligent and funny. But sometimes he will go off on one when it’s not expected, because he is distressed about something. Then you would think he is two different children.”

Fraizer said his older sister would probably describe him as annoying if she was asked, “because I am always talking. But I love to read, mostly factual books. I mostly like non-fiction because fiction isn’t very factual. Non-fiction teaches me things, that I can then teach other people, which I enjoy.”

“For people who don’t know me I would like to say that just because my mind is a is a bit different it doesn't mean I'm weird. Doesn't mean I'm an outcast. I'm still a person, it's just, I just need a bit more help with things. I find other things more difficult to do than other people do. But, I'm still a person and they can still talk to me. And it's not like I'm a freak. I'm not a freak, I'm still a person, it's just I'm a bit different.”

 

Daily life and challenges for the family

Melissa says that Fraizer really enjoys routine, “At Christmas he said ‘Mum, do you know what I’m looking forward to the most?’ I was thinking Father Christmas coming or we usually go out for dinner for my birthday a couple of days after, but he said ‘Going back to school.’ He really doesn’t enjoy non-school days.”

“He has also never really eaten properly; food has to be something he can hold and touch. It has to be something he can physically have in his hand, so he wouldn’t eat anything like beans. When I try to get him to eat something like that, he will deliberately make himself vomit.” He is very affected by his senses. He refuses to go on public transport because of the smell. He won’t use the toilet at school for the same reason; even though they have put things in place to help him with that.”

“He also hates the feel of socks, we'll get ready to go out and I'll turn around and he will be wearing pair of flip flops or sliders, even when it's freezing cold. We went on a dog walk the other day and it was raining and muddy, he came downstairs in sliders. I said ‘Fraizer, you cannot wear those, we're going somewhere really muddy and the feeling of mud touching your feet is probably worse than a sock, isn't it?’ And he said ‘No, socks restrict my feet’.”

“For me, as Fraizer’s mum, I think I have become more anxious and nervous. I have a new partner, and I previously had a long term girlfriend, so Fraizer has always been surrounded by women, which is great. But I worry about not being able to help him with manly things as he gets older. Also, the other children his age are hanging around the shops with their friends and that’s not something I would let him do yet because of where we live. But I do want to help him build his confidence and I do worry he is going to be isolated from society.”

Fraizer says that when he grows up, he would like to be a doctor, “one who specialises in bones because I really enjoy the mechanical parts of the body. I think it’s interesting learning all the parts of the body.”

How Family Fund helped

“When we first applied to Family Fund it was for holidays to Haven, we all love those. Fraizer loves the arcades and we get to take ‘The Cousins’ as he calls my sister’s children. With the grant we can get a six birth caravan and invite them along. He has got friends but he’s never been invited to anyone’s house for dinner or a sleepover so ‘The Cousins’ are really like his friends.”

“We also had a bed and mattress from Family Fund in the past. We have since had to buy another because Fraizer is so tall, but at the time it really helped.”

“I think it was a sensory thing, but he couldn’t ride a bike until he was ten because he didn’t like to take his feet off of the floor. He had a little bike for so long but it eventually became too small and we just had to give it up. So, recently we applied for a new bike from Family Fund and all of a sudden he could just ride it, just like that.”

  

Taking part in the podcast

Melissa said; “It was amazing to be able to speak with Paddy and Christine about our children and what they go through in life. It was refreshing to know that I am not the only one who has experienced sensory issues with an autistic child. I hope that our chat will help others, who share similar struggles, to see that they are not alone and I also hope it helps people realise that sometimes children are different, but they are still amazing.”

Fraizer said; “Paddy and Christine are very lovely people, I felt like they were very understanding and I am happy that I was able to talk with them. I want the people listening to know that just because I'm mentally disabled, it doesn't mean that I am extremely different to others, I just think in a different way and I still want to do things in life. I'm not odd, I'm just unique in my own way.”

 

 

Listen to the podcasts HERE (Spotify) and HERE (Apple Podcasts).

To find out more about our partnership with McCain and listen to further podcasts as they become available click HERE