A desperate mum who wakes up to ten times a night to stop her two-year-old son with Autism seriously injuring himself, has praised a disabled children’s charity for the emergency loan of a specialist bed after Stoke and Staffordshire NHS said they couldn’t help.
As a result of his condition, Arthur Street, from Great Chell, doesn’t speak, has development delay and absolutely no awareness of danger, so he needs constant supervision.
Mum Helen Mountford said: “Arthur bangs his head and rolls aggressively in his cot. He has bendy, hypermobile joints, so his arms and legs become trapped in awkward positions – through one bar and back around again – causing nasty bruises.
“Arthur also climbs out of his cot each night and even managed to fall from a chest of drawers that I didn’t think it was even possible for him to reach. I was always petrified he would break a bone, or worse.”
Exhausted and with two other children with special needs to care for, Helen was at breaking point. Yet she says an Occupational Therapist with Staffordshire and Stoke NHS said there was no service which could provide the specialist bed Arthur needed. Instead it was suggested Helen contact Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.
“I was really upset when the NHS said they couldn’t help,” said Helen. “I have three children with special needs and I feel all I do is fight for the things they need. Even a referral for an Occupational Therapist appointment takes up to 18 weeks.
“When Newlife said they could provide an emergency loan of a specialist bed for Arthur I was so relieved I cried. Then they managed to get the bed to me within 72 hours. It was just amazing.”
Newlife is the largest charity provider of specialist equipment in the UK and the only charity providing emergency loans. The charity also works with the family and local health services to ensure a long-term solution.
Helen said: “The loan bed from Newlife has soft, flexible, high sides, so Arthur can no longer injure himself at night. He seems to feel really secure in there, he’s calmer and he sleeps more!
“Before the loan bed arrived I was scared Arthur would fall down the stairs or be unsupervised in the night when anything could happen. We have stairgates, but I can’t be sure Lily-Jo and Charlie haven’t got up and left them open as Lily-Jo has a type of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome and Charlie has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“Generally people don’t understand how hard it is to have a child with special needs or how much you worry about everything. But at Newlife the trained nurses really understand. It’s brilliant to have that help and reassurance.”
Carrick Brown, Newlife’s Senior Manager of the Care Services Department, said: “Newlife’s Emergency Loan Service is unique and allows us to respond quickly when no one else can. This may be when a child is at significant risk of injury, when they have been denied desperately needed equipment or when they are too ill to wait for other services to provide equipment.
“Last year we provided 250 emergency equipment loans of equipment, a worrying 16 per cent increase on the previous year.”
Newlife has provided urgently needed equipment to more than 1,000 children in the last five years. Just £1,100 would provide two children with the emergency equipment they need to save or change their lives. If you would like to help a child like Arthur you can make a donation here: www.newlife.support/GiveEEL