Mothers message of thanks for specialist equipment
The mother of a 4-year-old boy from West Denton, in Newcastle, has thanked Caudwell Children, for providing her son with a calming ‘Light Sensory Pack’ and a specialist car seat.
Olly Willshire was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of two. The condition has left him struggling to communicate and he has difficulties processing a variety of senses including sight, sound and touch.
As a result Olly often becomes anxious as his mother Aimee, aged 31, explained: “Olly can easily become frustrated as he can only say a few words and he has difficulty expressing himself.
“He finds it hard to interact with others and he has little sense of danger. He’s also hyperactive and finds it extremely difficult to sleep and recently I’d really struggled to manage his behaviour.”
Luckily, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Occupational Therapy Service referred Aimee to Caudwell Children, the charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
“They’ve been amazing,” said Aimee. “They support a lot of autistic children and they immediately recommended a ‘Light Sensory Pack’ for Olly.
“It contains optic fibre lights, a projector, bubble tubes filled with water and toy fish, and a dark den that Olly can get into to escape sensory overload.”
Unfortunately, there was a significant financial barrier to securing the pack. As Aimee explained: “This equipment doesn’t come cheap and the sensory pack cost over £1,300, which was way beyond my budget. However, the charity provided 80% of the cost which allowed me to buy it.
“It’s made such a difference to Olly’s life and the calming effect of the sensory pack helps him get to sleep much more easily.”
Olly, a pupil at Thomas Bewick School, in West Denton, also enjoys trips out in the car with the family but recently this had also become more difficult. “Olly has learnt how to unbuckle his seat belt in his car seat,” explained Aimee. “This makes it extremely dangerous to drive with him in the car so recently we’d become virtual prisoners in our own home.
“This has also upset Olly’s brothers, Zack, aged 11, and Alfie, aged nine. The three of them have really missed getting out of the house.
“But just when we were getting really despondent Caudwell Children came to our aid again.”
The charity provided 80% of the funding for a specialist car seat that cost over £200. This has enabled the family to escape the confines of their house.
“I can’t thank Caudwell Children enough,” concluded Aimee. “Without their support Olly and his brothers would still be sat at home. But now we can get out to the park and visit places of interest like the Alan Shearer Centre, which is one of their favourites.”
Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, is delighted that the charity has been able to support Olly. She said: “This equipment can’t be secured through statutory funding so it’s really important that Caudwell Children continues to fill this gap in provision.
“I’m delighted that the car seat is allowing Olly and his brothers to get out and about with their mum again, and that the Light Sensory pack has had such an immediate effect.
“Each feature of the pack has been designed to engage and calm children with sensory challenges. Hopefully, it will continue to distract Olly from some of his frustrations and it may enable him and his family to relax together.”