At six, Adam Cheshire is very tall and strong for his age and already wears clothes to fit a 12-year-old, but Autism and learning difficulties means he has the intellectual abilities of a two-year-old. He has absolutely no awareness of danger, which makes keeping him safe outside their Newdale home in Telford a constant battle for his parents.
Adam, who also has development delay, hearing and visual impairments, can display challenging behaviour as a direct result of his Autism. This is often violent and usually triggered by him feeling overwhelmed by the world around him, like going somewhere new that he doesn’t know or understand, or being somewhere noisy or bright. Not only did he need a specialist buggy for those times when he will drop to the floor and his parent’s couldn’t move him, but car journeys had also become dangerous, especially as he had outgrown his car seat.
Mum Charlotte Cheshire said: “Adam is physically big and strong, but cognitively so young, so we have to think about travelling differently. Adam has to be in his car seat to travel safely, but he doesn’t understand why he should be. If he could, he would leave his car seat for any reason, at any moment. Getting him into the car some days could be a battle too, then when we were travelling he could have a meltdown for any reason – we had many near miss accidents.
“He had outgrown the specialist car seat he was using and was above the weight capacity and I was worried for his safety if we had an accident, so we had stopped going on longer journeys.”
In desperation mum Charlotte turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the largest UK charity providing specialist equipment for children with disabilities or terminal illness. The charity realised the urgency of the situation and quickly provided both a £1,681 specialist buggy and £3,268 moulded car seat to keep Adam safe.
The car seat was funded through Newlife’s partnership with fashion store chain River Island, through a ‘fantastic plastic initiative’ which sees the profit from every five pence carrier bag sold at River Island’s UK stores go to Newlife to directly fund vital equipment. To date, this has resulted in almost £600,000 of specialist support.
Charlotte added: “The car seat is much easier to get Adam into and once he is in it there is a magnetic clip that he can’t open, so we know he secure and safe and we are safer too.
“Because of the buggy and the car seat we can go to school, into the local community and beyond, but without them we wouldn’t be able to go out. They have made a big difference, given us peace of mind and it means we can go ahead with life as normally as it is ever going to be possible for us to be.”
Newlife’s Head of Charity Operations Stephen Morgan says: “It’s great we could help Adam, but right now the charity is working with six disabled and terminally ill children in Shropshire in need of specialist equipment and must raise £2,437 to help them too.
“We really want to help change the lives of these children and their families, so we are calling on local individuals, groups, clubs and companies to get involved and support them too. "