Cerebra Help the Barnes Family

Cole and Elliott enjoy the soft play area at Vallecchia

Cole and Elliott enjoy the soft play area at Vallecchia

We love hearing from families about how Cerebra has helped with their daily family life. The Barnes family from Hull got in touch to tell us their story.

Mum Natalie Barnes first contacted Cerebra for help with her eldest son, eight year-old Elliott who has Autism and severe challenging behaviour. Through our grants scheme, the family received a weighted lap pad and a weighted blanket – products that the family still use everyday.

“The blanket initially was used to aid my youngest son Cole’s sleep but now also acts as a calming aid to help my eldest son, Elliott. We wrap him in the blanket, which decreases harm to ourselves and him and helps to sooth him. We also use the weighted lap pad for meal times or when we would like Elliott to sit still as he has trouble sitting for even short periods of time and lacks concentration. The lap pad massively increases the amount of time he will stay seated for and so we are able to help him with his food more easily and engage in activities for longer,” Natalie told us.

The family have also used our Postal Lending Library to borrow specialist equipment. Many families use this service in order to see if equipment such as fibre optic tubes would be beneficial for their child before investing in often expensive items.

“We discovered Cole loves UV toys and have ordered some for him to have at home along with a dark den which we hope will help stimulate play and keep him engaged in activities. Cole struggles very much with play and is focused on seeking adults constantly. He lacks imagination and can not “play” with toys without help. He was interested in the bright UV colours and the contrast of light and dark really engaged him. To try the items at home first makes a huge difference as these specialist sensory items are so expensive, parents and carers like myself want to make sure they are going to benefit the child before buying or looking for funding for products.”

Having children with additional needs and sensory issues can often make it difficult to get away and enjoy a holiday together which is why Cerebra offers our holiday home Vallecchia out to families such as the Barnes’. The whole family was able to stay at the specially adapted house in Pembrokehshire and benefit from some much needed relaxation time together.

Natalie said: “We had an amazing break at Cerebra’s holiday home, the house has lots of specialist sensory equipment and toys that my children loved to explore and have fun with. It is a really peaceful house, with lots of space and was just a short journey to lots of fun and interesting days out. Going on a holiday with a disabled child is very stressful and difficult to plan for but Cerebra have thought of lots of little touches that made the stay even more stress free, such as providing leaflets for local attractions and days out, a huge trampoline in the garden, a dvd collection, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer. All of this made a huge difference to our stay and always meant there was something for the boys to do.”

Thinking about the future can be a daunting prospect for any parent but when you have a child with a disability, it becomes even more important. Natalie did this with the help of our Wills and Trust Voucher Scheme.

Natalie said: “I have received a Wills and Trust Voucher which I am using at the moment to help with the cost of making a Will to plan for the boys future. This is a frightening prospect but I am grateful to Cerebra for helping us to pay for this.

Thank-you to Cerebra for providing such wonderful and important resources for so many special families like ours.”