Dear Carers Support,

I just wanted to write to you to say a huge thank you for all of your support over the last two years.

My husband and I contacted your services back in 2017 when we were going through a really difficult time in our lives. Our son Alfie was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. We were aware of the signs just after his first Birthday.  Alfie lacked speech, struggled to interact with children, had funny little quirks such as lining objects up, sleep problems, diet, not making eye contact and become extremely distressed in a lot of social situations.

“We spoke to family and friends, read every book, article and Googled everything praying for an answer, craving for some kind of reassurance”

Alfie and family

 We experienced many meltdowns and at times as parents wouldn’t know how to manage them. Alfie was our first child and we just wanted to do everything possible to help him.  We spoke to family and friends, read every book, article and Googled everything praying for an answer, craving for some kind of reassurance and normality to our lives! Friends would say “Don’t worry he will catch up” or “Boys are just a little bit more lazy” even though I desperately wanted to believe them I knew something wasn’t right.

I looked into speech delay one day and saw an article linked to Autism, I remember so clearly looking at this word and not wanting to tap on it, but I did, and everything from that day changed and somehow made sense.  Autism was now our world! Speech therapy, multi- disciplinary reports, Portage, group therapy, psychology assessments, nursery meetings, DLA, EHCPS.

“We would cry, laugh, and burst with pride when he said a new word or completed that first shopping trip without a meltdown.”

During this time all of our energy, love, support and time was rightly spent on Alfie.  We gave everything to ensuring that he was ok, progressing and succeeding, but above all I just wanted him to be happy!  With that said, during this time it did create a big impact on our daily lives and even our marriage.  Even though we knew our journey as parents had taken a different path we spent days, weeks and dare I say in nearly a year sleeping in different bedrooms due to our son’s needs.  We would cry, laugh, and burst with pride when he said a new word or completed that first shopping trip without a meltdown.  But we were exhausted and our relationship really did take a turn.  We were physically and mentally drained. We ended up with no time for one another, any of the time we did managed to spend would just want be to sleep!

During this time my husband suffered with depression.  The world around him that he once felt he could control was slipping away, the realisation that his son was in the process of a diagnosis of Autism. There were so many questions we desperately needed answers for. What would the future hold for Alfie…?  It was all too much. I strongly believe there is only so much a person’s mind can take before it gives up, begs you to take it easy and requires peace.

Carers Support was mentioned to us by our son’s health visitor, they suggested we contact the Carer Health and Wellbeing Fund, as they offer parents/carers like us a chance to get away, take a break, plus other incredible support and therapy groups we could become involved in.  I filled in the application and my husband and I were awarded a fund of £250! We could use this to go away with for a night or two and finally spend some much quality time needed!  We went to Amberley Castle, we were wined and dined and had the most wonderful time.  We were left feeling energised and relaxed and got back to us a couple. Funding and schemes like this are vital for helping parents and carers like us to just escape and take a break.

At first I felt like we didn’t deserved this, but then I actually realised we did! We are wonderful parents, and put everything into our son and will never stop until Alfie has everything possible in order for him to succeed and feel included in this world.  Carers Support gave us this incredible break as they know parents like us need extra help from time to time.  Alfie is the most wonderful, kind, funny and caring boy, he is now 4 and will be starting school in September and we are so excited to see how they will embrace his amazing potential!  We couldn’t be more proud of him! Please contact Carers Support, they are here to help, guide and support you any time, when all you need is just a helping hand!  We are off in another break in May kindly offered by Carers support, my husband and I can’t wait!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Becca x