A simple piece of specialist equipment is making a big impact on the lives of ten-year-old George and his family in Eccleshall, Staffordshire.
George has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and sensory dysfunction. He has no awareness of danger and needs constant supervision.
Night-times were a nightmare for the family as George would regularly wake up, with behaviours that put his own safety at risk.
Mum Liz said: “We were on our knees. George’s room had to be stripped out to reduce the risk of him hurting himself. His curtains were inside two panes of glass, otherwise he would pull them down, he couldn’t have pictures on the walls, the knobs were taken off his wardrobe doors and it was kept locked. He would move his mattress and kick at the bedroom door, walls and window. He even put a hole in the side of his wardrobe.”
George’s occupational therapist recommended a specialist bed to keep him safe, but with no provision available through local statutory services, the family contacted Staffordshire-based Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children for help.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Within a few days of contacting Newlife, a specialist bed called a SafeSpace Voyager had been installed in the family home.
Liz said: “The bed is a life-changer. Since the SafeSpace was delivered, earlier this month (March), George has had the longest night’s sleep in his entire life – from 8.45pm until 6.15am the next morning. He settles down to sleep much more easily – children with Autism like enclosed spaces so it is perfect for George. He is sleeping longer, which is having a positive impact on his daytime behaviour. His school – The Bridge at Telford – are reporting his behaviour has improved, which is a big bonus, and he is certainly calmer at home. He actually looks better – he isn’t as pale and pasty and the black bags are disappearing from under his eyes.”
“If he does wake up we know he is safe; because the SafeSpace has soft, padded sides George can’t hurt himself if he kicks out. It has a ‘window’ in the side so we can still keep an eye on him via a camera in his bedroom. Finally, we have peace of mind.”
The bed was provided through Newlife’s Emergency Safety Loans service. The loan period is for around six months, during which time Newlife will work with local statutory services to help secure permanent provision for George.
The charity also loans specialist items like wheelchairs, buggies, seating and portable hoists to families of life-limited and terminally ill children and offers grants for permanent provision of a wider range of equipment including communication aids, standing and walking frames, stair climbers and specialist car seats.
Newlife has helped provide £967,605 of equipment for 820 under-19s in Staffordshire. And right now the charity is working with a further 28 families with equipment needs totalling £17,608.
If you would like to find out more about Newlife and how it helps families in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/staffordshire. 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 Staffordshire.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Staffordshire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.