Weʼre raising £30,000 to to help fund Tommy's special education
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Hi - I'm Freddy. My brother Tommy aged 11 has just left primary school but unless you can help, he won't be able to start a new school in September. Tommy is autistic. He has very limited speech, makes strange noises and basically looks and acts weird! He can’t always control his movements and often he puts things he shouldn't in his mouth - like bits of plastic and metal or leaves and even stuff off the floor!
-He can understand what we're saying he just can't always get his body to do what he wants it to do. He doesn’t always look at us when we speak to him, so it looks like he doesn’t understand. And a lot of the time he can’t follow a simple instruction, like when my mum tells him to put he shoes on he just stares into space.He can read and understand what he's reading though.
Basically inside his body he's just like me, a normal 11 year old guy who can't get out of his locked in prison.
At one school a teacher told my mum that he wouldn't ever learn to read. But he did! But when we told another teacher that he could read, she told us that he couldn’t understand what he was reading - and that was without her even seeing what he could do! We know he can though because he’s shown us that he can! I’m not saying he’s a genius I’m just trying to explain that you can’t always know what’s going on inside someone’s head just by looking at them. I’m not saying my brother isn’t annoying because he is. But I’m saying that he should be given a chance to learn because he can learn, if he’s taught the right way in the school that will hopefully work best for him.
My mum and dad have spent ages looking for a school for him - some schools for autistic children are for children who can have conversations and more or less lead independent lives once they grow up. The other schools my mum and dad visited were for children who always need an adult with them, both to keep them safe and to teach them. But most of these children don’t read and spell like my brother and they are not being taught the same things that he and I are learning - they are taught at a much lower level.
The school my mum and dad have found sounds just right for my brother. It is a small school so he wouldn't be freaked out by loads of people and every pupil gets an adult to help them full time. Tommy needs this because he doesn't always try to protect himself if someone is hurting him and he can get himself hurt easily. The other day he got his finger stuck in some wire and couldn't tell us what had happened until the bit of metal got right in his finger. It took two of our next door neighbours to hold him still while my dad tried to cut it off (the wire,not his finger!). Two days ago he got his arm stuck in a window! And my mum’s always having to try to stop him putting strange things in his mouth cos he’s always chewing things that could be dangerous.
This school sounds brilliant for my brother. Mum says that they can give him a personalised education - this is where they teach each person at his own level. So some of the pupils are taking GCSEs - even though they have disabilities resulting from autism they still get the chance to take academic exams if they want. Personally I can’t imagine why they'd want to!
But as my mum says, it all costs money. The school fees are high because each pupil needs 1-1 support. My parents are applying for funding from the Local Education Authority and this will take time. Although the school has a place for Tommy in September, he won't be able to start there then because the money won't be available by then.
If everyone donated a few pounds each (the cost of a burger or hot dog!) we'd soon raise enough to pay for the first term - and Tommy could start his new school in September!
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About the fundraiser
Amanda Wilkins Watts
I'm Amanda, mother to twin boys Freddy and Tommy. I'll let my eldest son (by two minutes) explain why we have set up this fundraising site.
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