Coping with a child who has a long-term illness or a physical disability can be a life-changing experience. Parents who are dealing with their own medical condition can find life a real challenge. That’s why Home-Start steps in. Our volunteers will support families – from receiving a diagnosis, through attending hospital appointments, to seeking financial help for medical equipment or to adapt their homes.
From the neo-natal ward to today, by far the most significant thing in our lives is Home-Start. Everyone else wants to tell you what to do, talk about attitude and get involved. Tom just comes round and chats. He gets on great with the kids. He helps, he listens and has phenomenal patience.
Greg came to England from Australia several years ago in a move connected with his wife’s career in medicine. Neither had plans to have children and were shocked when Laurel discovered that she was pregnant with twins. The boys arrived twelve weeks early and weighed less than 5lbs between them.
Greg says, “It was a very traumatic time. Terrible. They were in hospital in London for ages.” As the boys grew it became obvious to Greg and his wife that something was not quite right and Alexander and Joshua were later diagnosed with autism.
Then, before the twins were a year-old, Laurel discovered that she was pregnant again. Baby Zachariah was born when the twins were just eighteen months old.
Greg, who is the main carer while Laurel works full time, said: “At one stage none of them could walk. It wasn’t easy and, to be honest, I felt like I was jogging in sand.”
Greg’s family were referred to Home-Start by a health visitor. At first Greg was not that keen.
I didn’t want a stranger in my house and I wouldn’t have pursued it. And then Tom turned up. He was amazing. I can categorically say that Home-Start has been fantastic. Tom comes round every week and I honestly don’t know how I would have coped without him.