Arsh is 5 years old and attends our Wylde Green Family Centre Nursery . His mum, Hamasa, shares how KIDS supported them through the pandemic and the impact this has had on the whole family.

My son Arsh has autism and we have been receiving help from KIDS for about seven months now. We needed help as Arsh’s behaviour and issues with sleep were making me feel low. I felt like no one understood why – it was simply because my son did not sleep. I was also exhausted as I had to watch him constantly to make sure he stayed out of danger.

Two people from KIDS came to my house and showed me different activities I could do with Arsh. He really enjoyed playing with rice crispies in a tray, and I have used this play with him a lot since. They also gave me ideas about how to communicate with Arsh, and how to help him communicate with me, alongside some great ideas as to how to get him to burn off some of his energy!

When Covid started, KIDS couldn’t come to my house as much. Instead, my support worker called me every week on the phone. I really needed those calls. I could talk to her about my difficulties, and I knew she understood. I found the winter lockdown really hard as his behaviour and sleep were not good and my husband was out during the day at work.

I knew that I could always call my support worker. She would always try to help. She didn’t mind that my English was bad. She made a sleep routine with me and encouraged me to keep going with it, even when it was really difficult. She also helped me to speak to Arsh’s doctor about getting the right medication to help with his sleep. Arsh is now sleeping so much better, and I feel so much better because of it.

It was hard for me to take Arsh out, as he was too big for his pushchair and he wouldn’t walk very far without sitting down and refusing to move. She helped me to get a special needs buggy from the NHS which made it much easier for me to get my other children from school and to go shopping. I also told her that I was worried about the car, as Arsh kept getting out of his seat when we were driving. KIDS bought me a harness to keep him safe in the car – it’s helped so much.

I feel happy now, Arsh is calmer, he is sleeping better. This has helped me and the rest of my family. Life is not always easy, but I can manage now. I know that I can call my support worker whenever I need her. And that support has been, and remains, so important to me.