(UK) Devon mother of 4 sons with autism grateful for "new support system"

Dec 5, 2018, Devon Live: Devon mum with four autistic sons reveals she left a £50,000 [$64K US dollars] year job to live on benefits as a single parent A mother who has four autistic sons has spoken of how she has adjusted to leaving a £50,000 a year job as a telecoms project manager for a new life as a single mother on benefits. Due to family issues, Faye Maylam, left her home in Reading four years ago to move to Bideford in Devon, where she had to rebuild a support network around her. The 44-year-old has been joined by three of her children aged nine, 12, 21 and 22, and says she almost suffered a breakdown when it nearly became too much. A vital lifeline for Faye has been a new support programme to help parents of disabled children stay healthy in mind and body. Healthy Parent Carers will begin its first trial in the coming months, and aims to help parents cope with the strain of being carers by encouraging them to take a bit of time to focus on their own wellbeing. Faye was one of the initial parent carers to sign up to the pilot of it four years ago. It was after Faye moved to Devon that her youngest son was diagnosed with autism like all her other three children who also have other issues to contend with. Her eldest has attention deficit disorder, and her second eldest is believed to have dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder. Her third child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), along with hypersensitivity processing disorder, and her youngest son is believed to have dyspraxia. … “They all suffer high anxiety and that is a hard one as if anxiety is high they don’t sleep well. Hormones have kicked in now so that’s a whole new set of challenges.” She said: “Most days the boys wake between 4am to 5am so my day starts early. They are not allowed downstairs until 6am which is another rule. “I don’t get regular respite care, and my family can’t have them overnight as they wake up so early.” Despite the daily challenges she faces, Faye attempted to do a degree but has been forced to put it on hold after suffering a mini breakdown last year…. Lead researcher Dr Chris Morris, of the University of Exeter said: “Parents of children with disabilities are at risk of having poorer physical and mental health than other parents. “The Healthy Parent Carers programme was co-developed in partnership with parent carers, featuring ideas to promote CLANGERS. “The programme encourages parent carers to give themselves a bit of time and take small steps to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing. “The scheme focuses on helping parents set small achievable goals; things like going for a 30 minute walk every day to stay active, taking a daily photo to encourage them to notice their surroundings, and sharing it with friends to connect with other people.” The trial is recruiting participants around Plymouth and Torbay now, and after New Year around Dawlish, Bideford, St Austell and Minehead. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the research part of the NHS.