"When you find out that you are having a child, it's a period of incredible excitement and happiness. As expectant parents you attend antenatal classes and through shared experiences you start building bonds of friendship with other parents. However when my son Mark was born, and he started to exhibit challenging behaviours due to autism, all of these friendships quickly faded. We felt completely lost, hopeless and alone and we really didn't know how we were going to cope.
Autism Wessex has been there for Mark and us throughout his life. Mark was permanently excluded from nursery before he was even 5 years old, however after being accepted into Autism Wessex's Portfield School he started to relax into his education and progress as a person, which made us all much happier. Thanks to Autism Wessex we no longer felt lost, hopeless or alone. As Mark grew older our need for support grew too. Something which isn't often spoken about is some of the incredibly challenging behaviours that people with complex autism often develop, especially in their teenage years. Advice from Autism Wessex's support line was often a lifeline at this time.
Eventually as Mark grew older we could no longer cope with Mark at home. It was such a challenging time, and a painful decision had to be made. Mark became a full-time boarder at Portfield and Autism Wessex's residential services team supported us and Mark all the way through the transition. Mark was happy and this meant the world to us.
Thanks to Autism Wessex my family will have a wonderful Christmas, but there are plenty of families this Christmas who will be feeling as lost, hopeless and alone as we did all those years ago. Please help Autism Wessex with a donation right now. Your support will go straight to where it is needed in giving care and support to families in desperate need right now this Christmas time." Told by Regine, Mark's mum.