Six-year-old Reece was diagnosed with autism at three, when he had speech and developmental delay. He lives with mum Olivia, and older brother, Justice, 20: “He is behind in his development, can repeat what others say and he does understand what people mean, but he can’t speak his own words yet.
“Reece attends a specialist school. They’re helping him a lot to better his understanding and to engage more. Generally, Reece enjoys school except when it’s noisy. He has sensory issues so he dislikes certain loud sounds. At the moment, I receive two days of respite care which I use to study for my degree.
“The cost of living crisis has greatly impacted the cost of my bills. We haven’t been able to afford other things as much as we used to. I can barely buy a full basket of food nowadays so I have to improvise my cooking. Sometimes I have to leave myself out of the meal and just eat snacks so that my children can eat.”
Family Fund help
Olivia said: “Family Fund is very helpful, especially to families on a low income. Without the grants we wouldn’t be able to afford things so important to a child’s development.
“We received a sensory grant which we used to buy a colour changing bubble machine which Reece loves. It helps to calm him down.
“We also received a fridge freezer grant. Our old fridge was broken and too small. The grant from Family Fund allowed us to buy a newer, and bigger, fridge which was better for our family. Without the grant we would have had to wait a long time to get a new one.
“The most recent grant we received was a Haven family break grant [that] gave us a chance to get away on holiday to the seaside which Reece loves a lot. The Haven site has a lot of activities to do all under one roof. The break gave us peace of mind and it was beautiful to see Reece happy and calm. He was so content with everything around him.”
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