Our families value the work we do and the service provided by Ryedale Special Families.
Here are just a few examples of how we have helped local families:
RSF has opened up the world for Emerson - and for us
For most families, taking a trip in the car or going for a walk are normal everyday activities. But for the family, life with a severely autistic child had become so challenging that it was impossible to leave the house.
Emerson is ten years old; his autism means that he has learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder and is non-verbal. And two summers ago, his disability brought the family to breaking point. "We were effectively prisoners in our own home," said Angela, Emerson's Mum. "For six weeks, we didn't go out. Emerson became obsessed with the car, so we had to park it out of sight and couldn't take him in it. He was also becoming aggressive, so two of us had to be with him all the time and we couldn't leave our three daughters alone.
The only answer was for us all to stay at home," explained Angela.
At the end of that summer, the family knew something had to change - and it did. Their lives were transformed when a social worker put RSF in touch with them. "Thanks to RSF, Emerson's world is now a bigger place. Even the 2:1 ratio that's needed isn't a problem - they're incredible, nothing phases them," said Angela.
Some of the activities Emerson now enjoys with RSF include going to the beach, getting the train and riding an adapted bike in Dalby Forest - all of which would be impossible for his family to do with him.
It's not only Emerson that benefits. "RSF has restored some normality for the girls," said Angela. "We can now take them out when Emerson's with RSF, knowing he's not missing out." With Emerson, there's no predictability: no bedtime, no knowing when he'll wake up. "Life is not normal and it never will be," said Angela. " But the difference RSF has made for us is beyond words. People want to win the lottery to buy things; I want to win the lottery to keep RSF going forever."
We've gone through some very dark places, but RSF has saved us
When Charlie was born three months early, he not only needed oxygen for the first year of his life but his complex health needs have impacted every aspect of daily life - both for him and his family - ever since.
Charlie, who is now seventeen, suffers from epilepsy, PoTS (postural tachycardia syndrome) - an abnormal increase in heart rate, weak lungs and arthritis. This means that unlike other young people his age, Charlie can't attend college, go out with friends, play sport or be left on his own. It's been a battle for his family since his birth. But when Charlie was fifteen months old, his Mum Heidi got in touch with RSF - and the charity has played a pivotal role in Charlie's life ever since.
"When Charlie was little, RSF was an invaluable support to us as parents. Now Charlie's older, the charity is there more for him. Essentially, the support started when he was fifteen months old and it's never stopped," said Heidi. Charlie currently attends RSF's youth group, the cinema club and summer activities. He has a good group of friends and also has a monthly one-to-one outing with a care worker.
RSF has not only supported the family through the various outings and activities. "RSF has also helped with the complicated paperwork trail, hospital appointments and the transition from child to adult services. It's also provided respite care and stepped in during an emergency," said Heidi. RSF was also there for Charlie when he recently left college. "I had to drop out of my A-levels. I found it so stressful that I was bed-ridden. But RSF supported me throughout it," said Charlie, who wants to be a writer and has already been published. No day is without discomfort or pain for Charlie. But RSF has given him things to look forward to. "We could never repay RSF for all they've done," said Heidi. "The support has been huge and without them, our lives would've turned out so differently."