“Family Fund have helped my family for two generations!”
John is four years old and lives in Orkney, Scotland with his older brother and sister, his mum Claire, and grandparents. John has been diagnosed as autistic.
Claire told us: “John struggles with social interaction. Sometimes he will go right up to people and stare. This is John’s way of saying ‘hello, nice to meet you, I’m John, I really want to play with you’. However this can scare people since he’s quite a big kid.
“He started off by pushing other children to get a reaction. But now that he’s going to nursery, it’s a lot better. John’s communication skills are still limited. Although it’s good when he’s in a play environment since there’s more actions than words.”
Having a child with additional care needs is a demanding job for parents. Claire said: “Raising John has really pushed me to my limit because he requires 24/7 care. He doesn’t always sleep. It’s mentally draining. I haven’t had one minute to myself over the last five years.”
“Having to find a different way of communicating with John, who is nonverbal, to understand him and try to be a single parent to two other children has been really stressful. It doesn’t always go to plan.”
How Family Fund helped
Family Fund helped John and his family on a couple of occasions. “We received a day trips grant which we used for a family annual pass to the leisure centre. John has a fear of water but his siblings love swimming. It’s difficult to get John in the bath or shower, he screams as if it’s hurting him. The small pool at the leisure centre isn’t too deep. I’m massively grateful: It allowed us to spend more time together, and to get John used to being in water.
“We also received a sensory equipment grant. I had realised that he didn’t engage with toys we were getting. So we bought a bubble machine and sensory lights. We like to put music on in the evening and have a little disco. It’s just fantastic to see John engaging in a different context. All of the equipment is really well made. I wouldn’t have known about the supplier if it wasn’t for the grant from Family Fund.
“I’m grateful that we’ve been able to apply and get the help John needs. Family Fund have not just helped my children: When I was young Family Fund helped my parents, since my mum is blind and so are my siblings. Family Fund have helped my family for two generations! The charity is amazing, we love Family Fund.”
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