A good night’s sleep is something many of us take for granted, but for eight-year-old Kyle Clayton and his mum Stacey it seemed an impossible dream.
Kyle, from Launceston in Cornwall, has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, sensory processing difficulties, Global Developmental Delay and challenging behaviours. With no sense of danger and difficulties sleeping, night-times were ‘a nightmare’ says Stacey. “We would get maybe an hour’s sleep a night because Kyle would have terrible meltdowns, smashing his toys. This meant he was constantly tired at school during the day – he wasn’t happy and he was crying all the time.”
On the advice of Kyle’s occupational therapist, Stacey applied to 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.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, Newlife provided a specialist bed for Kyle within days. The equipment has high sides so he feels secure and can’t climb out and is fully padded to provide a low stimulation environment which encourages him to sleep.
Stacey said: “This bed has changed my son’s life – in fact, not only his life but the whole family’s. Now, with this specialist bed, he sleeps all night. He barely spoke before, now he says things like ‘Kyle loves mummy’, which is fantastic, and greets me every morning with cuddles and kisses.
“He loves this bed – he feels safe and secure in it, so he sleeps – and that is having a positive impact on his behaviour during the day. There has been a 100 per cent turnaround at school; his teachers tell me they can’t remember when he last had a bad day.
“Before the bed, every activity during the day had to be regimented – he hated trying anything new. Now, he’s trying so many new things at school and home; he even tries to dress himself, which is a big step forward.”
The bed was provided through Newlife’s Emergency Safety Loans service. Loans of equipment like beds, wheelchairs, specialist seating, buggies and portable hoists are provided on six-month loans. Newlife aims to get the equipment delivered to families’ homes within 72 hours.
But with the loan period soon coming to an end, Newlife is urgently looking to provide Kyle with a permanent bed of his own, so he can remain safe, at a cost of £4,745.
Newlife has helped provide £184,800 of equipment for 83 under-19s in Cornwall. If you would like to support Kyle in getting his permanent bed, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/cornwall and click on the Donate button next to his story. 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 Cornwall will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Kyle Clayton