HUNDREDS of brides put on their wedding gowns again to raise money for a special little boy.
Wedding photographer Sarah Smith decided to use her skills to organise the Wedding Belle Ball to raise money for one-to-one sessions with an autism specialist for four-year-old Finn Roberts, her close friend Karren’s son.
The event, at The Queen’s Hotel, Southsea, raised £2,000 and enabled Mrs Roberts, to pay for expert Aaron Deland to fly over and spend time with the family, including 18-month-old Elsa.
Mrs Roberts and husband Gavin, both 36-year-old teachers, converted the lounge of their Essex Road, Southsea, home into a play room by taking everything out and putting in a trampoline and mirrors.
They set up their own programme with the help of volunteers but flew Mr Deland in to help further their knowledge.
Mrs Roberts said: ‘It was a really amazing experience.
‘We saw Finn come on so much.
‘On the fifth day Aaron played with Finn we saw him do things we honestly thought we’d never see him do.
‘Finn is completely nonverbal but he pointed and said “bubble”.
‘It was one of the first words from him we have ever heard.
‘Aaron worked with Finn and us.’
The Wedding Belle Ball raised enough money to pay for Mr Deland to come over again and work with the family.
‘We’ve seen lasting effects from Aaron’s visits but Finn still has lots and lots of issues and it’s by no means a miracle,’ said Mrs Roberts.
‘But he wants to play with us, which is huge.
‘We’ve learned that in order for a child to go into your world you have to go into their world first.
‘When you go into the play room you do things he likes doing.
‘You spin, run round flapping your arms, jump on the trampoline. You join him. Open up a line of communication, make it easier for him to join you.
‘Before we did this we did not know what to do with ourselves. Now we can engage with him.’
Mrs Smith, who owns photography firm Pretty Unique, said: ‘It was a truly unique and fun evening for an amazing cause.’