He was aggressive, had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and his anxiety caused him to have lots of tantrums. His parents didn’t know what to do. They blamed themselves for his behaviour and didn’t like to go out because they were embarrassed when he had a meltdown.

His mum, Alison, says, “When he started at school things got worse. He wasn’t naughty, but he was different from the other children. He found it hard to concentrate and would sometime be baby-ish. He would hit out and push. He was quite physical and would throw himself on the floor, or would hit us. I think he was frustrated.”

The family was at rock bottom. Lewis’ dad had a nervous breakdown and his mum was suffering with depression and other health issues.

Lewis’ school referred the family to Action for Children and they were given one to one help through home visits by a support worker.

Lewis was enrolled on an SAS programme (Specialised Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders) to help improve his communication, social and self-help skills, so he could know how to handle his emotions.

His parents were enrolled on a Norfolk Steps/Positive Handling Training and a Non-Violent Resistance Programme so they could learn about challenging behaviours, de-escalations skills and how to use physical intervention techniques for when Lewis has a tantrum. Their support worker also liaised with Lewis’ school to ensure he was being supported and signposted his parents to support for their health issues, which have since improved.

Alison says her son – who was finally diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum in November last year – has used techniques learnt on the SAS course, has gained confidence and even apologises for when he’s misbehaved.

"My support worker has been amazing – she’s an angel. Before we felt on our own, but she’s always there at the end of the phone to listen if there’s a problem. It’s brought us closer together as a family. Without Action for Children I don’t think we’d be where we are now."

Lewis’ mum Alison,

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