WHAT IS YOUR HELPING HAND IDEA / INITIATIVE With £1000, I would like to attend the SonRise Program to help give our autistic Son a voice. WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF YOUR NOMINATION Our son is now 2 years old. The first 18 months of his life were what every new parent could ever wish for. He’d look at us with his big bluey grey eyes and a wide smile and we’d look back at him in complete awe, listening to his lovely little voice cooing away. Then we began to notice that he changed a little. He didn’t look up at me when I went in to greet him in the morning, and just sat looking down in his cot. He’d avoid eye contact and when he walked, he would totter around on his tiptoes. Not only that but he didn’t respond to his name or understand a spoken word, let alone learn to speak. He had begun to disappear into his own little world.

After lots of tears and desperate calls we were eventually referred for a hearing test. It was there where a nurse said the words that stopped our hearts from beating.. ‘do you know about the spectrum of Autism?’

This was 2 months ago, and we’ve now set off on our long journey to a formal diagnosis. Sadly, we know that this can take years.

After the initial cloud of complete devastation we’re now in fight mode and determined to help our son to fulfill his potential. After lots of research we’ve found a program called SonRise. Developed in America, SonRise is an alternative, parent-led treatment which focuses on entering your child’s world and building a relationship with them before guiding them out to help them interact with the outside world. We found a UK family who, after being told that their son Charlie might never speak are currently working with SonRise. Charlie’s Mum Beth said the program has been truly life changing. Charlie has engaged in eye contact for the first time. After 5 days of applying what she learned, Charlie said his first word. 6 months on he has a vocabulary of 15 words and is coming on in leaps and bounds. We want this for our son, which is why I would love to attend the SonRise programme. HOW WOULD THE FUNDS BENEFIT US? The fee for Part 1 of the program is £749. In addition to this I would need 3 days accommodation in central London (approximately £450). This would give us the tools to understand our son's world and make steps to unlock his voice and give him a full life where he can enjoy the people around him. This £1000 would be worth so much more for both me and and our son….it would be worth the world!