Cameron is four years old and lives in Scotland with his mum Emma, dad Andrew and his two older sisters. Emma tells us, “Cameron is in the final assessment stage for autism. He has issues with sensory processing, speech, severe anxiety and hyperacusis”, which is a condition that affects how you perceive sound. Cameron’s eldest sister also has autism.
“We try and maintain a calm household – as much as possible, with a lot of structure and routine that makes everyone feel safe and happy.”
Emma explains that for Cameron and his sister, being able to feel in control of their day is important. “Occasions like birthdays and Christmas are kept low key to avoid sensory overload and we tend to avoid having visitors wherever possible”.
Due to Cameron’s conditions, he struggles to leave the house. “The mere mention of going anywhere causes him to become extremely distressed. He will avoid anything that he relates to leaving the house such as getting dressed or getting washed.”
“This means he’s missing out on so many things which a lot of people can take for granted, such as playing in the park, going to the museum or attending birthday parties. He’s missing out on exercise, friendships and lots of learning opportunities.”
“People don’t invite us places anymore as we always have to decline. We can’t have babysitters so my husband and I don’t spend any time together, or even go out individually to socialise, as we are too tired.
“Being stuck in the house all day with limited and repeated activities can take a real toll on mental health. It can also be heart breaking to see how stressed Cameron becomes. Even though he is due to attend primary school this year, I’m not planning to return to work as I expect I will need to be on call throughout school hours.”
Family Fund help
With support from Family Fund, Emma was able to buy outdoor play equipment and sensory toys for Cameron. This included a climbing frame, a hammock, and a play board with clothes fastenings on.
“Cameron responds really positively to deep pressure therapy and pleads with his dad to create makeshift hammocks all the time, so he was over the moon to have a real one. He loves the swinging motion and the sensation of being cocooned inside it.
“The clothing play board is useful for practicing various fastenings without the pressure of getting dressed. The climbing frame has been fantastic too. Not only did he enjoy helping build it, he is keen to get in the garden and swing contentedly for ages.
“He is now getting lots of fresh air, exercise and relaxation. Getting outside is a change of scenery for us and provides an extra place to play. That is really important to me right now.”
“Cameron can’t manage going to play parks, so we’ve brought the play park to him.”
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