Zoe & Dan’s Story
‘When we first discovered there could be something wrong with Callum, it was an extremely worrying and stressful time for both of us. Callum had a lot of symptoms that were pointing towards him having autism. We both knew in our hearts that something wasn’t right but found it difficult to admit. When you admit something it then becomes real and you have to begin dealing with the issue. Callum would not respond to his name and would have multiple tantrums daily. He could not understand simple instructions and all aspects of daily life were challenging.
We pushed for a diagnosis as we read that early intervention is key. We funded a private ADOS report to assist The Autism Panel in making their decision. Without this we genuinely believe Callum would not have been diagnosed as early as he was (16 months). It was a relief when we received the diagnosis as we now knew what the problem was and we could start researching this and trying to find help for our little boy. My husband was still struggling to come to terms with it all and at times was borderline suicidal.
He started researching autism on the internet which almost became an obsession. It was his way of coping but we spoke at length of the different therapies and theories that are reported on the internet. The therapy we kept coming back to was ABA and this is what we felt would be best to help Callum.
ABA really gave us focus and we were absolutely determined to fund a programme for our son. Unfortunately, an ABA programme is extremely expensive and we were thinking of some drastic measures to be able to support this. Selling our home and all of my husband’s company shares were ideas we seriously discussed as options.
Finding The Playhouse Foundation and being given the grant to support Callum’s ABA programme made us both overjoyed. This relieved a lot of stress and financial worry and we felt for the first time in a long time that there was a small chink of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. Callum’s tutors have all bonded really well with him and bring a wealth of ABA experience. The consultant uses her experience to guide the team and ensure that the programme is tailored to help Callum develop to the best of his ability.
Due to the intensive structured programse ABA offers, we have already seen a huge difference in the last few months. Callum can now say lots of different words and his interaction with people and his surroundings have improved dramatically. ABA therapy breaks down different aspects of his behaviour into small segments, which give Callum the chance to learn at a level he is comfortable with. When he first started he did not particularly like any form of physical contact and now he even gives us kisses and cuddles which is the best feeling in the world.’
‘When Nur was little, he didn’t talk or show eye contact and was in his own world. However, I didn’t think of autism as I didn’t have enough knowledge about it, not until he became two and a half years old. Our Health Visitor noticed the signs and mentioned that children his age are able to say at least fifty different words.
After receiving his diagnosis, he was referred to NHS Speech and Language Therapy, where the sessions didn’t seem to help. Later on I discovered ABA using YouTube and found out its effectiveness in helping autistic children. However, I realised that it cost too much, especially for a single and full-time mother like myself. So I tried looking for funds that could help me with this, and after months of research I successfully found The Playhouse Foundation, a local charity that funds ABA. I was delighted to hear this and it felt like all the months of sleepless nights of research had paid off! They explained the steps from filling the application to building our team and soon afterwards Nur started his Programme.
In these couple of months of intensive teaching, Nur has done so well with the help of his supportive team. He came from a non-verbal child who easily got frustrated due to not being able to communicate his needs, to a happy child that can request his needs and loves interacting with us. He has said ‘mummy’ for the first time in his life after starting the programme, which is a huge thing to me! He loves each session as it’s all play-based so he learns new words while at the same time having fun.
I can’t thank The Playhouse Foundation enough for this golden opportunity in enabling my son to go from unable to able. ABA is the best thing that a family with an autistic child can get.’