A youngster is enjoying a calmer life, thanks to the support of a national charity.
Andrew Young, from Longbenton, has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), resulting in him becoming anxious due to his high level of sensory needs.
The seven-year-old can now relax in a sensory area within the family’s homes thanks to Caudwell Children, which supplied a light sensory pack.
Andrew’s father Jonathan, 33, said: “His condition can leave him frustrated and he doesn’t know how to calm down.
“This can sometimes make him appear aggressive or disruptive, but it’s just the way that he copes.
“Benton Dene School, which Andrew attends, has specialised, dedicated sensory areas where he can retreat to if everything is getting a bit too much for him.
“It works really well and it helps him to refocus.”
“We were desperate to buy some sensory equipment to see if we could recreate the environment at home, but the cost of £1,327 was simply too much for us.”
The family had already accessed Caudwell Children’s Family Support Service and the charity agreed to provide fundraising support to raise the money needed to buy the equipment.
Andrew’s mother, Gemma said: “We couldn’t believe it when just before Christmas the pack arrived.
“It was the perfect present for Andrew. Now he’s got a bubble tube, acrylic mirrors, an LED light source, a fibre optic side glow and a dark den where he can escape to if needed.”
Jonathan and Gemma intend to create a ‘Sensory Area’ in the family living room.
Jonathan said: “By creating a space here Andrew won’t have to leave the room when he is becoming anxious. Hopefully, he will begin to identify it as a haven for him when he feels himself becoming frustrated or overwhelmed.
“The kit is a great distraction for Andrew and will improve his well-being immeasurably. We can’t thank Michelle and Caudwell Children enough!”
Michelle Dias, regional family services coordinator for Caudwell Children, said: “This equipment can’t be secured through statutory funding so it’s really important that Caudwell Children fills this gap in provision.
“Each feature in the light sensory pack has been designed to engage and calm children with ASD and it will allow Andrew respite from his condition.
“This is the second time that the charity has supported the family as we also raised £375 in October last year to purchase a specialist therapy tricycle for Andrew.”