Empowering People, Launching lives

Getting out in the community

"It's been empowering for the whole family" - Leighann

In October 2021 Leighann and her son Aaron, aged 4, started attending BeyondAutism Early Years. When they first arrived, stepping foot outside was an ordeal. Aaron struggled to recognise danger, so he frequently ran off – often towards traffic. Leighann was on constant alert, worrying that Aaron would run away and put himself in danger. He would have to wear a wristband to link him to his parents on outings. This would often get tangled, leaving him feeling restricted, frustrated and distressed. 

At the start of 2022, Leighann raised this concern with the Early Years’ team. Knowing the challenges this presented the whole family, the team quickly devised a personalised plan to support. They took Aaron and Leighann out of the classroom and onto the streets to help grow their confidence in the community. Together they practised strategies to improve receptiveness to instructions, including teaching Aaron when to stop, wait and go. 

It has given him greater independence.” 

By Easter, the pair had joined a group of other Early Years families for an outing to Crystal Palace Park and Farm. It was one of the first times for Leighann to take Aaron somewhere new, and it was a great success. He walked around the park and farm with ease and listened to instructions without running off. Aaron loves animals and had a great day looking at the different animals on the farm.  

Aaron no longer has to wear restrictive wristbands to keep himself safe. Leighann no longer has to cope with the fear of Aaron running away and the impact it was having on her wellbeing “Worrying every time that your child is going to run away is quite damaging”. Without BeyondAutism support, opportunities available to Aaron and his family would have continued to be limited.

The family have made plans to visit Legoland and Chessington World of Adventures this summer. Trips that would have previously filled them with dread. In just three months, the progress made has widened the opportunities available to the family and given them greater confidence. 

Our Early Years’ service runs entirely on grants and donations and we don’t receive any government funding. Without the generosity of our supporters, families like Aaron’s would be unable to access our support. To help us keep Early Years’ free for those who need it, please consider making a donation today.

Names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the family. 

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