Calne mum’s creative fundraising to help to reduce autistic son’s anxiety

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A MOTHER from Calne who has to raise £400 in order to provide the equipment needed to calm her autistic son, has found an ingenious solution to her fundraising dilemma.

Karen Parsons, aged 38, has visited car boot sales and scoured charity shops in order to find old goods that she can turn into ‘vintage chic’.

Once she has updated the retro lanterns, pegs, picture frames, bird boxes and keyrings she then sells the upcycled goods on social media.

To date Karen has successfully generated over £260 towards the cost of a calming Light Sensory Pack for her eight-year-old son, Theo.

And now she’s determined to sell even more refurbished items to ensure the wellbeing of her son, who attends St Edmunds School in Calne. As she explained: “Theo’s condition makes him very sensitive to his environment and he can easily become agitated.

“Because autism often results in sensory overload he can become highly stressed very easily. We were struggling to help Theo and that’s when I contacted the national charity, Caudwell Children.

“They provide practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families and they recommended the sensory pack. Unfortunately, it costs £2,000 which was way beyond our budget.

“However, Caudwell Children has very kindly generated 80% of the funding leaving us to find 20%, still not an inconsiderable amount!”

But thanks to Karen’s creative talents and Caudwell Children’s support, it’s hoped that Theo may soon be able to relax in a ‘sensory area’ within the family’s home.

“A sensory pack would be fantastic and would have a huge impact on Theo,” explained Karen. “He has tried one before and he adored playing with the bubble tube, the LED lights and the fibre optics. The dark den also allowed him to escape to an enclosed space where he could relax. He immediately became less anxious around the pack which was fantastic to see.”

Karen says that the sensory equipment will benefit the whole family. As she explained: “Theo’s seven-year-old brother Jacob would also be able to use the equipment. He sometimes gets frustrated that Theo is unable to play with him but this would bring the boys closer together.

“Jacob loves tactile things and being able to play with his brother would bring some normality back into his life.”

Most of Karen’s upcycled goods cost £5 or less and she’s hoping that awareness of her initiative will help her to generate the funds needed to secure the sensory equipment. As she concluded: “Hopefully, I can quickly generate the balance I need. I love the creativity of recycling the pieces and it’s also a great escape for me. Who knows, in time, I may even be able to turn it into a business for myself.

“I’m also registered as disabled so to be able to work from home in this way would be great.”

Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, is delighted by Karen’s initiative and determination to raise the funds needed for her son. She said: “Karen’s creativity is a perfect example of how by thinking outside the box you can often come up with a solution.

“The equipment Theo needs isn’t funded through statutory measures so I’m hoping that together, we will fill this gap in provision.

“Each feature in the light sensory pack has been designed to engage and calm children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This will distract Theo from his day-to-day frustrations giving him, and the family, some respite from his condition.”

You can visit Karen’s Facebook page at: http://bit.ly/1rk0hjl

To support Caudwell Children and other children like Theo visit www.justgiving.com/caudwell

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