A specialist car seat was urgently delivered to a County Down family after five-year-old Nathan Shek, who has Autism, began undoing his seatbelt and leaving his car seat, causing a potentially dangerous distraction for his mum while she is driving.
Nathan, from Bangor, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three; he has no awareness of danger, has learning difficulties and behavioural problems – which can cause him to be extremely disruptive. In the family car he would leave his standard car seat and hit his brother, Brandon, age two, or his mum Lixia while she was driving. Even when he was separated from his brother and put into the front passenger seat he would open the car door while they were travelling.
As the specialist car seat needed to keep Nathan safe and secure costs £642, Lixia and husband Rick turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Newlife arranged for the appropriate car seat to be delivered just a week later.
Mum Lixia said: “Nathan is a happy boy but physically very active and having Autism means there are behavioural issues. We try to only make necessary car journeys with Nathan and sometimes have to make other arrangements for him when we go out as he gets distressed and causes a distraction. When he was in the car he would leave his seat and try to hit me and his brother, or open the door. It just wasn’t safe.
“The new car seat is great and he actually enjoys sitting in it. We were worried about the change in seats, but he has been fine. Now we don’t have to worry as much when we are going anywhere in the car. He has the appropriate support, can’t leave his seat and won’t be able to open anymore doors, so we have peace of mind that journeys are safer.”
Newlife supports families through a range of equipment services, which can all be accessed through the Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095. Equipment Grants make permanent provision of a wide variety of items including wheelchairs and walkers for mobility and specialist car seats and beds for safety; Emergency Equipment Loans offer a rapid response, often within 72 hours of an application being made; Play Therapy Pod Loans are targeted at those with complex needs, helping to develop skills and distract from pain; Comfort Capsules are for families of terminally ill children so they can make memories together.
To find out more about how Newlife supports disabled and terminally ill children in County Down, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/down. If you would like to help another child in the county, go to the website and click on the Donate button.
The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email [email protected] – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the county.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in County Down will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Nathan Shek