Gosport girl with autism and epilepsy gets life-changing help from charity

A YOUNG girl with autism and epilepsy's life has been changed for the better after a a charity funded sensory equipment.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 1:27 pm
Amelia Barnes, eight, from Gosport who has autism and epilepsy with her new sensory equipment. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (290120-3)

Gosport girl Amelia Barnes, eight, struggled to interact with others, including her two-year-old brother Freddie, due to her conditions.

She also has sensory processing difficulties, which have left her occasionally non-verbal.

The St John’s Church of England School pupil had to be home schooled for a period of time due to anxiety and stress.

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Amelia Barnes, eight, from Gosport who suffers from autism and epilepsy with her new sensory equipment, pictured with mum Vicky. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (290120-1)

Her parents Vicky and Steven looked into getting multi-sensory equipment to help their daughter but were left deflated after finding out the sensory pack was out of their price range.

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Dad Steven, 35, said: ‘There were projectors and bubble tubes to fibre optic lights and dark dens, but in the end we all agreed that the tactile equipment pack would be best suited for Amelia as it was colourful and highly visual.

‘It also contains a musical panel, a high power light board that included 192 LEDs, and an ultraviolet ripple mat that glows intensely under UV light.

‘But the pack that we wanted to buy cost an eye watering £963, which was way beyond the family’s budget.

‘We’d resigned ourselves to being unable to buy the equipment, which was really sad because we knew it would benefit our daughter so much.’

But after speaking to others parents at their support group, it was suggested that they contacted charity Caudwell Children, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children.

The charity agreed to fund the pack, which now takes pride of place in Amelia’s bedroom.

Victoria, 33, said: ‘Before Amelia received the pack she wouldn’t sleep alone but now she leaves the tactile packs lights on all night, which appears to soothe her, and she’s finally happy to sleep alone in her own room.

‘What’s really heart-warming is that her little brother Freddie also likes the pack and they interact together when they are playing on it.

“This is so nice to see as she’s never really interacted with him before, so the pack is helping to build the relationship with Amelia and her brother.’

Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, added: ‘It’s fantastic when parents tell us that we’ve had such a positive impact on a child.

‘Without Caudwell Children’s funding many parents would be unable to buy this equipment as it doesn’t come cheap. Tactile packs can’t be secured through statutory funding so it’s really important that the charity continues to fill this gap in provision.’

To find out more the charity visit caudwellchildren.com