It’s been a while since I did a guest blog for Family Fund, so it’s wonderful to be able to use this platform to share some of the wonderful things that they do for families with disabled children. I was thrilled to hear that the Department of Education has given Family Fund an extra £10 million in to help families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking from personal experience, I’m so grateful to Family Fund for giving us a helping hand. Their grants have enabled us to purchase equipment that has been life-changing for our son, who has autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

He particularly loves his trampoline, which has helped him to regulate his emotions and sensory needs through exercise. Likewise, his computer, which was the first item we ever received from Family Fund, lets him create new worlds by teaching himself coding skills, as well as accessing educational sites when he was unable to attend school.

Despite this, I’m not surprised that some people feel hesitant about asking for help. I was one of those people myself. Shortly after my son’s autism diagnosis, a friend told me about Family Fund and the fantastic work they do. She had been able to use her grant to buy much needed items for the home such as a washing machine, and was so thankful that Family Fund had been able to help her when she needed it the most.

Despite her glowing recommendation, I was hesitant to try out the service for myself, even though we qualified for the grant. Why? I think it came down to the social stigma around asking for help, particularly financial help. In some ways it felt like we were admitting that we could not provide everything that our child needed, or that we would be viewed as “scroungers” for asking for help. These mental barriers prevented me from accessing Family Fund for several years after my son was diagnosed.

However, I eventually plucked up the courage to get in touch with Family Fund and have not looked back since. This money is specifically allocated for families that need it, so why not access this form of help?

More and more of my friends with disabled children were recommending Family Fund and I realised that there was no shame or stigma in accepting something that will help your child to develop and thrive. I can honestly say that each and every item that we have received from Family Fund has contributed to our son’s development and progress in some way. 

More recently we have used our grant on vouchers for days out, which gave the whole family a chance to enjoy special time together and make memories. I really would encourage anyone who is hesitant about applying for a Family Fund grant to overcome their fears and get in touch. They really are a caring organisation that make a meaningful contribution to the lives of families affected by disability.

Read of Louise's blogs over on her blog page My Child has Autism or read more from our Family Fund Bloggers.

Find out how to apply for a Family Fund grant here.