Five-year-old Gavin Elworthy from Caerphilly in Wales can now travel safely thanks to his new car seat. He is no longer putting himself and others at the risk of potential injury, making car journeys enjoyable for the whole family.
Gavin was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder just before his third birthday. He had limited speech but has built up to three-word sentences with the help of a communication aid called Picture Exchange Communication System. Gavin has very little understanding of certain commands, which can be frustrating for him at times. The only way for him to release his emotions is to scream, run away or to physically hit out.
Gavin has sensory issues; he dislikes certain noises and also has a condition called PICA whereby he eats inappropriate objects. Because Gavin has no awareness of danger, there have been incidents where he has wriggled out of his standard car seat, taking his frustrations out on those around him in the car. This made a specialist seat with a five-point harness essential.
Mum Sara Elworthy said: “Getting Gavin to school in the mornings was a daily struggle because he would always protest about not going. When putting him into his standard car seat he would hit out at me, kicking his legs. Once strapped in he would start by throwing his shoes, socks, then manage to take off all his clothes throwing them at me while driving.
“He would slide out of his seat and start lashing out at me. It was very dangerous as I would regularly have to pull over and re-dress him. We limited long car journeys as they were a nightmare. In the past we have had to stop at service stations to dress Gavin again,” says Sara.
With no statutory funding available to fund Gavin’s car seat costing £680, Sara turned to Newlife – the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
With the new car seat Gavin is now safe. The seat has a five-point harness making it secure and comfortable and doesn’t allow him to wriggle out of it. Sara’s mind is at ease as journeys are much easier.
She added: “It has been a blessing due to the five-point safety harness. Gavin isn’t able to get out of the seat and he cannot take off his clothes. He may have meltdowns because he is unable to do these things but I know that he is safe and so am I when driving. We are no longer limited to how far we can travel as Gavin is relaxed, less upset and anxious.”
Newlife has supported 49 families in Caerphilly, with equipment totalling £46,380. For further information go to: https://newlifecharity.co.uk/caerphilly
Right now, the charity is working with a further two families in the Caerphilly area with equipment needs of £3,031. If you think you can help, go to the website and donate. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email email@example.com.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised Caerphilly will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Gavin Elworthy