Eight-year-old Logan Jenkins, from Pontnewydd in Cwmbran, has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and struggles to make sense of the world around him. Although he can walk, he has hyper-mobile joints which can make walking uncomfortable and he will often drop to the floor, refusing to move.
Mum Laura Jenkins said: “Sometimes when you ask Logan to go somewhere he doesn’t want to, he will just drop down and pull his hair out which means taking him places can be challenging. He is too big now to pick up off the floor.”
Because he is able to walk, statutory services will not provide a specialist buggy to help his family get him out and about. Back in 2012, when he was just three years old, Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children gave the family the equipment they needed for Logan – but after five years he had outgrown the buggy which, says Laura, ‘was on its last legs’.
Still needing equipment support, the family went back to statutory services which offered a wheelchair. Laura said: “We did try Logan in the wheelchair, but he wasn’t comfortable in it and kept trying to get out. It only had a lap strap to keep him secure, which he could undo. It was also difficult to manoeuvre and very heavy for me to lift in and out of the car.”
So, once again, they turned to Newlife, which has now provided a larger special needs buggy, costing £406, to meet Logan’s sensory and mobility needs. Laura said: “It fits him correctly and Logan feels safe; it has a three-point harness to keep him secure. It is immensely helpful; without it we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere with confidence, even somewhere as everyday as the shops.”
Logan isn’t the only child in the family to benefit. His two brothers, aged ten and 13, get to go out more as well. Laura said: “I am very lucky that Logan’s brothers don’t see him as a child with a disability, to them he’s their brother first and foremost. They play with him and look after him and belong to a young carers’ club, taking part in various training courses to support Logan. Having a new, larger buggy is good for my older boys too.”
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported 23 children in Torfaen with equipment totalling £24,770.
Newlife offers a range of practical support services, all accessed through the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095. Equipment Grants, like the one for Logan, make permanent provision; Emergency Equipment Loans offer a fast response, often within 72 hours of an application being made; Play Therapy Pods support the development of children with complex needs; Comfort Capsules help families of terminally ill children make memories together.
If you would like to find out more about how Newlife supports children in the county, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/torfaen. The charity is currently working with another family in Torfaen with equipment needs totalling £1,811.
PICTURED: LOGAN JENKINS