(UK) Sheffield mom wants sensory room for son with ASD, ADHD, seizures, learning problems

Updated: Nov 21, 2018

Nov 18, 2018, The Star: Sheffield mum fundraising for sensory equipment to help son with severe learning difficulties A woman from Sheffield is fundraising for special sensory equipment which will enable her disabled son to play at home safely. Zachary Flavell, aged 10, of Shiregreen, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler after a health visitor realised he was unable to give eye contact like others his age. Michelle Wilkinson is fundraising for a sensory room for her son Zachary. Since then, his condition has drastically changed as he has developed hyperactivity, ADHD and has severe learning difficulties meaning that despite his age, he is only functioning at the mental age of a two-year-old. He is also at risk of absence seizures, a form of epilepsy in which symptoms include rolling of the eyes and has to use The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) cards for communication. His mum Michelle Wilkinson, age 40, says that due to his condition he has a ‘destructive’ nature so can’t play with other children or regular toys, but sensory equipment would mean he could play without harming himself. She said: “He presents as happy, but he doesn't understand things like facial expressions. He can be a challenging child and for example, if can sometimes hurt himself and others. Zachary. “For example, if he tripped and banged his knee he would reenact it four, five, six times, and each time it would get more traumatic and worse. If you look at him you’d think he was a normal 10-year-old, but his bed has to be screwed to the wall as he has a destructive nature. “We had a sensory assessment last week with the clinical psychologist at CAHMS and the outcome said he would benefit from soft play equipment, padded walls and cushioned flooring. “A fully refurbished room can cost over £5000, [$6,400 US dollars] so we thought if we could get some funding towards the equipment for now, we could eventually put money towards the flooring. “Padded walls could prevent him from hurting himself, they’re such a vital piece but they’re so expensive so we also need help with funding for that.” Michelle, who is a full-time carer for Zachary, says he benefits from similar equipment during the day, at Mossbrook Primary School, Norton. …