A special buggy means a Flintshire three-year-old with Autism can now safely go out with his family, allowing them to enjoy the kind of everyday activities and fun days out that many others may take for granted.
For Zachary Peters this means he can take his beloved dog, Lily, for a walk around their Mancot home, attend medical appointments and take part in everyday family life. To celebrate having the safety and freedom the buggy provides, the first thing the family did together was take a trip to Chester Zoo – which was the first time Zachary, along with his parents Lisa and Karl, three older brothers, Jake, aged nine, Cael aged 13 and 19-year-old Liam and 15-year-old sister, Lucy, had been able to enjoy such a trip for a while, as they struggled to keep him safe and calm without a buggy.
Zachary’s Autism has resulted in him having no awareness of danger and he can find the world around him quite overwhelming. He has no verbal communication, instead he uses a basic sign and symbol language called Makaton.
Mum Lisa said: “Zachary is a very happy little boy, a little cutie, but he is distracted easily and if he sees something which interests him he will just run towards it. He will also throw himself to the ground and refuse point blank to move. If we pick him up he arches his back so it’s difficult to hold him. He doesn’t fit in a standard buggy anymore and he will keep putting his feet on the floor to stop the buggy, which is very dangerous.”
Without a buggy to keep him safe, Zachary’s family were very limited in where they could go out, which made even the most mundane activities such as popping to the shop difficult. However, their local statutory services weren’t able to help as he doesn’t have a physical disability.
Instead, the Peters family contacted Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Recognising the urgency of the situation, the charity was quickly able to provide the £270 buggy he needed.
Lisa said: “We are now able to have nice days out together as he is just so much calmer in the buggy. We’ve even been able to go shopping at Broughton Park which would have been a big no-no before. It’s so nice to be able to go and do normal things without him becoming distressed. I also feel Zachary is much safer now, which gives us some peace of mind.
“Zachary can even come with me when we walk our giant poodle, Lily. They love each other and keep an eye on each other as we go along. It just makes Zachary so happy that he’s walking his dog. It’s those little things that other people take for granted, but they mean so much.”
Right now, there are another three children with disabilities and terminal illness in Flintshire. If you think you could help, go to the website www.newlifecharity.co.uk/flintshire and click on the Donate button. Alternatively contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444. Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of the money donated to the Flintshire fund will help provide specialist equipment for children in the county.
To find out more about Newlife’s work in Flintshire, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/local and click on the map. For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to: https://newlifecharity.co.uk.
Pictured: Zachary Peters