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Six-year-old Ioan who has Autism used to escape from his car seat on every journey – mum Sally knew that this was a dangerous situation for himself and other passengers in the car. Now, thanks to a Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, Ioan has a specialist car seat which enables him to travel safely.

Ioan Purchase is from Bassaleg, Newport, Wales and as well as having Autism he has a sensory processing disorder, communication, social and behavioural difficulties.

With no awareness of danger he needs to be monitored closely – Sally used to be very distracted when driving as not only would Ioan escape he would take out his frustrations on his younger brother and other passengers in the car. He needed a car seat that would keep him secure.

Mum Sally Purchase said: “I would never travel alone with Ioan; another adult would always have to be there because it was not safe, he would regularly slide under his seatbelt and go into the boot of the car. Whenever Ioan would have meltdowns he would end up escaping from the car seat and attack his brother or other passengers. He recently learnt how to take the child lock off and open the car door.”

With the specialist car seat costing £750, and no statutory funding available, the Purchase family turned to Newlife – the UK’s leading charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – for help. Due to the seriousness of the situation, the application was fast-tracked and Ioan has now received his new car seat which also gives him the postural support he needs.

Sally now has peace of mind knowing that Ioan will not be putting himself or any other passengers at risk – leaving mum to focus on driving. This means more opportunities for the family to go out and enjoy family time together.

Sally added: “The car seat has been a great help. Car journeys are no longer a hassle and we are able to go more places because I know he is safe.” Newlife launched the Newport Fund -which supports equipment provision for under-19s facing any significant disability, whether acquired through birth defect, prematurity, accident or illness within the county. Newlife has provided 35 families in Newport with disability equipment – including beds, wheelchairs, seating and sensory aids – worth over £40,000. However, the demand is still high. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.

Pictured: Ioan Purchase