When Matthew contacted LionHeart, he and his wife were finding it difficult to cope alone with their two autistic children.
The couple, in their 40s, had very little down time as they had no family in a position to help and the local authority had also been unable to offer them any assistance. Matthew’s wife had had to give up her career to care for the children, with their youngest boy still at home full-time as they had been unable to find pre-school provision which could meet his needs.
As well as ASD, the three-year-old had also been diagnosed with additional special needs.
Matthew, a surveyor in the south of England, said: “It all meant my wife and I were struggling to find any time for each other as all of our time is spent looking after our two autistic children.
“LionHeart offered help and advice with trying to find support locally and nationally, and guidance on processes to obtain this support. They also offered us a recreational grant so my wife and I could pay for suitable qualified care to enable us to have some time out as a couple - it really helped us get some time out on our own, just a few evenings out to relax.
“The support officer gave us some guidance, impartial advice and, so importantly, just someone to talk to and ‘off-load’ onto - there was such kindness shown. At a time when we were at a very low point, it gave us hope. The Christmas hamper we received was magical and actually brought tears of joy.”
Matthew said the support received at a difficult time had made all the difference. The couple are now focusing on getting the right support in place for when their son starts school.
They know that they can contact their LionHeart support officer at any point if they feel they need further help.
Matthew agreed to share his story under a changed name. Picture posed by models.