When mum Emily Gallagher puts her young son to bed these days, she has peace of mind knowing he can no longer climb out of his bedroom window or rip up the carpets and floorboards.
Sleep has returned to the Gallagher household in Belfast, thanks to provision of a specialist bed for five-year-old Oisin.
Oisin has a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder with severe learning difficulties – and he has no awareness of danger.
Mum Emily said: “We spent a year being assessed by statutory services to make sure we were doing everything we could to keep Oisin safe ourselves – but nothing that we tried worked. Finally it was decided that we needed a SafeSpace bed.”
However, with no statutory funding available for the equipment – which cost £6,150 – the Gallaghers were signposted to Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children which supports an increasing number of families across Northern Ireland through its range of practical services.
Emily said: “I already knew about Newlife because the charity had provided similar equipment for a friend of mine whose son has Angelman Syndrome.”
A SafeSpace is, in effect, a room within a room which provides a comforting environment whilst keeping children safe.
Emily added: “It is great. The SafeSpace has really helped establish a bedtime routine for Oisin. Previously we would have to sit with him for a couple of hours before he would eventually go to sleep. And we were always concerned about what he would get up to if he woke during the night. Now, we put him in the SafeSpace, he runs around a bit then he quickly falls asleep. Oisin still wakes during the night but he is very happy to remain in his SafeSpace, therefore John and I can still sleep as we can hear contented noises coming from his room and we know he is safe.
“It helps us have the energy required to handle the rest of the day.”
Newlife has helped more than 300 families across Northern Ireland through its range of practical support services, including awarding 273 Equipment Grants – like the £6,150 grant for the Gallaghers.
For further information go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk. All services can be accessed through the Newlife Nurse Helpline – freephone 0800 988 4640.
Newlife needs £100,000 a year so it can continue to help families in Northern Ireland. To donate or fundraise, go to: newlifecharity.co.uk/lorcan or call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640. All the money received will be used to provide specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in Northern Ireland, with donors and fundraisers able to designate which county they would like their money to be spent in.
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