Clacton mum Jasmin Turner is enjoying the simple pleasure of taking her five-year-old daughter to the local supermarket – thanks to provision of a specialist buggy to keep her safe.
Young Araliya has autistic spectrum disorder and as a result has no awareness of danger. She is a very active little girl, but taking her out and about was getting more stressful for the family as she was too big for a mainstream pushchair, which she could climb out of and turn over, and her safety was a growing concern.
Jasmin said: “I was too worried to take Araliya out anywhere on my own, so we would only go out as a family, which was very restrictive. We found out about larger, special-needs buggies which would be ideal for Araliya, but these are expensive and there was no funding available from local statutory services.
“A local charity offered us £400, but we were still £728 short of the total and were advised to contact Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children. I had already had loans of Play Therapy Pods full of specialist sensory toys from Newlife, so I gave them a call. I was surprised by how easy it was to apply and how quickly we got the funding approved.”
Now Jasmin is looking forward to the summer with renewed enthusiasm. She said: “Whereas before it took two people to get Araliya into her old pushchair, now when she sees the new buggy she goes straight to it and gets in, happily, by herself. It is designed to squeeze her into place, with straps for her feet and across her chest, which she can’t undo herself, so she is secure – and she couldn’t tip it up even if she tried. The buggy gives her the sensory feedback she needs to feel comforted and happy.
“I was sick with nerves before we went, but I have now gone out with Araliya on my own for the first time in months – and it was fabulous!
“We went to our local Morrisons – somewhere I wouldn’t have dared go before – and she was happily talking to me and actually helped to put the shopping on the conveyor belt. It gave me the confidence boost I needed to take her out on my own more often.”
Pictured: Araliya Turner