Five-year-old twins Lucas and Levi Atwal-Brice from South Yorkshire are set to get their ‘voices’, with the help of leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.
The boys were born prematurely and have a diagnosis of severe autism, global developmental delay and epilepsy. They have lived with their adopted family since the age of two.
Lucas and Levi have been using a Picture Exchange Communication (PEC) system at their special needs school and have trialled a supporting aid to be used as part of their speech programme. They need their own communication aid to take with them wherever they are, but the cost of £1,962 prompted the family to turn to Newlife Foundation for help.
Dad Paul Atwal said: “This will give the boys a voice. They have tried out the equipment and it worked really well for them; they will be better able to communicate with us and tell us what they want. It will be particularly useful so they can let us know when they are poorly. This is very important because they have a lot of medical issues and it will help us, as parents, reduce our anxiety and frustration at not being able to second-guess what is wrong.”
He added: “This equipment will grow with the boys as we will be able to add to it as they develop. The communication aid is an essential piece of equipment for Levi and Lucas and will be as important to them as the drugs they have to take to manage their complex health problems.”
Newlife recognises the importance of the equipment to the twins’ development; it has been put on order and will be delivered to the family shortly. The charity has invested £125,595 in essential equipment – ranging from wheelchairs, buggies and specialist beds to safety seating, walkers and portable hoists – for 118 children in South Yorkshire. But it is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 70 per cent, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website www.newlifecharity.co.uk
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Because of the huge demand, we are calling on ‘local heroes’ to help us raise money to fund equipment. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to help disabled children in South Yorkshire.”
The charity is currently working with the families of three children in the area, with equipment needs totalling £3,710. If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
Pictured: Levi and Lucas Atwal-Brice.