The mum of a four-year-old boy with Autism is petrified of discovering her son critically injured when she wakes each morning, despite turning their home into a fortress with locks and alarms.
Elijah Riley has absolutely no awareness of danger – a direct effect of his condition – and he wakes constantly through the night. Mum, Amanda Kidd, has no choice but to watch him at all time to make sure he doesn’t harm himself.
He climbs everything, has jammed coins in the toaster and even manged to get out the front door of their home near St Ives, Cambridgeshire, in the early hours.
Exhausted from following Elijah all day and getting up with him at night, Amanda doesn’t always wake when the alarm on his bedroom door goes off, so Elijah roams unsupervised.
Elijah’s condition means he likes the feeling of throwing himself backwards and will often strike his bedroom walls and furniture, causing injuries. Because he doesn’t speak he can’t shout for help if he hurts himself.
Amanda was told by Elijah’s Occupational Therapist that Cambridgeshire health and social care couldn’t fund a specialist bed to keep Elijah safe.
In desperation she turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children who delivered a short-term loan of a specialist bed through its Emergency Equipment Loan service to prevent immediate risk of injury.
But Elijah needs a bed of his own. Newlife has some money towards the specialist bed, but is appealing to local people to help raise the additional £3,139 to make this happen.
Amanda said: “Unless I watch him every minute he can get himself into the most perilous situations – he’s just doesn’t understand what’s dangerous and what’s not. Once when I nipped to the bathroom he managed to climb over a dresser and escaped through a window into the garden, then over a six-foot fence into a car park – it’s a miracle he wasn’t run over!
“One night he even got out the front door. Thankfully he went to a neighbour’s house, but it could have been so much worse.
“I have another son at home, Liam, aged 11, who has ADHD, so I can never be sure he hasn’t left something unlocked. I constantly have to check everything.”
Amanda added: “Newlife’s emergency loan service has been a godsend. I’m no longer petrified if I don’t hear Elijah the moment I wake up. This bed is the only thing that’s made a difference to his safety and my sanity – we desperately need one of our own.”
Newlife’s Senior Manager for Care Services, Carrick Brown, said: “It’s vital Elijah has a specialist bed to prevent him being injured at night, and increasingly families like Elijah’s have no choice but to turn to charities like Newlife.
“We want to help Elijah and his family, but we simply don’t have the funds right now so we are asking people in Cambridgeshire to make a donation or fundraise to help him, as soon as possible, so he’s safe and free from pain.”
Money raised above the amount needed for Elijah’s specialist equipment will be used to help other disabled and terminally ill children in need in the East of England.
STOP PRESS: Thanks to a great community effort and lots of media support we have now raised enough money for Elijah’s specialist bed. However, you can still donate to help the other 28 children on our waiting list in the East of England who need £64,079 of specialist equipment. To donate please call Newlife on 01543 431444. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.