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Journey times have been more than halved for three-year-old Finley Monks and his family – thanks to provision of a specialist car seat.

Finley, from the New Springs area of Wigan, has autistic spectrum disorder and as a result has no awareness of danger. He loves speed, but when the family car slows and stops he would release himself from his car seat, putting himself and anyone else in the vehicle at risk.

Mum Lisa Monks says: “Finley didn’t just do this occasionally, it was every time we slowed or stopped . . . at traffic lights, road junctions, roundabouts. The 20 minute journey to nursery could take 40 to 50 minutes and we got to the stage where we would only take him out in the car if it was really necessary. I could never travel alone with him – there would always have to be someone else sitting in the back seat with Finley.”

Finley is already the size of an average five year old, so an added concern was that his standard car seat was too small for him. Lisa said: “It is only since we got his new, specialist car seat that we have realised how uncomfortable he must have been before.”

With the right equipment for Finley costing £665 and no funding available through local statutory services, Lisa was advised to apply to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has helped 474 children in Lancashire with equipment totalling £563,295.

Newlife provides a wide selection of specialist equipment through a range of services and Finley’s new, larger car seat and harness – which he can’t undo himself – arrived recently, giving Lisa peace of mind while driving.

She said: “Finley did try to undo the chest clip on the new harness at first, but now he has realised he can’t release himself he has stopped trying. The new seat has additional head support and padding and he likes to snuggle into it. As a result he is more content – and it makes life so much easier for the rest of the family. I know now that I can take him out on my own in the car, without worrying about safety.”

To find out more about how Newlife supports local children with disabilities and terminal illness, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/lancashire. Newlife is currently working with a further 23 families in the county, with equipment needs totalling £20,111. If you would like to help, go to the website and donate. Alternatively, contact the Newlife Supporter Relations Team – tel no 01543 462 777 or email local@newlifecharity.co.uk.

Pictured: Finley Monks

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