3 years ago I knew very little about Autism, ADHD or neurodiversity in general. They were abstract terms that were from other people’s lives that didn’t impact on my own.
That changed when a paediatrician suggested that my eldest son was on the Autistic Spectrum, put him on a waiting list for assessment and left me with no information or answers, just lots of questions. Thankfully that’s when I found SPACE.
With my 40th birthday fast approaching I decided I wanted to do something “for me”, something that would make me “feel alive”. When I decided that that something was going to be a parachute jump, I realised it was also the perfect opportunity to raise some sponsorship money for SPACE – to help them to keep helping other families like ours.
SPACE’s facebook page was my first introduction into the SEN world, their chat forums and support groups have been an invaluable source of information and support, and their activities for SEN children are amazing. They are the perfect way for everyone in our family to enjoy themselves in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
Since our initial meeting with the paediatrician I have been diagnosed with ASD and ADHD, along with 3 of my 4 boys. One of my sons’ needs are extensive and require a substantial amount of extra care/time. Through Space I heard about the Make a Difference for Carers grant. I applied and thankfully was successful! This grant is generally used for things like gym membership or a spa day etc – mine paid for my parachute jump!
My fundraising statement for my jump was the first time I spoke about my own and my son’s neurodiversity other than to close friends and family. Sharing personal information in this way was a quiet way of doing so, whilst also raising awareness of SPACE as an important resource for others should they have need. The supportive comments and generous donations for my parachute jump were very humbling.
I jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet the day before my 40th birthday. It was exhilarating, liberating and empowering. It felt life affirming and really made me appreciate the beauty of the world and life.
Today, I understand my own and 3 (of my 4) boys neurodiversity so much better than I could have ever hoped for and I owe that in the most part to SPACE.
They have helped to inform, educate and support me on my journey for my sons – from the initial suggestion, to diagnosis for Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Social Communication Disorder (and a couple other bits for added fun).
SPACE as a community (both online and in real life) are inclusive, supportive and a font of knowledge.
My family and I continue to benefit from the education, support and community that SPACE provide.
A huge thank you to Beckie for sharing her story and raising money so generously for SPACE.
We simply couldn’t do what we do without the active involvement of our families and the local community – it is your support that consistently enables us to help families when they need it the most.
Whether you have an idea or just ‘the wish’ to do something and get involved in fundraising for us, we would love to talk to you – please get in touch.