Stephen and James’ Story

Stephen and James’ Story

Brothers Stephen and James live with their parents, Ellie and Marcus. “Stephen is twelve and has been diagnosed as autistic with selective mutism, and has traits of PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance). James is eight and is currently waiting for an assessment referral for suspected ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)” Ellie explains.

“Both children are home educated due to their needs. Stephen can’t sit in a room with other children because he gets negatively distracted by others and is unable to control his emotions. This impacts hugely on his ability to learn. As he’s demand avoidant, the demands of a whole school day are intolerable for him and it will result in meltdowns every day. Home education provides a more relaxed approach to education that ultimately benefits Stephen’s mental wellbeing. James struggles with concentration and interest in school lessons so we home educate to provide him with short bursts of learning more suited to his needs.

“As a family, every ounce of our day is focussed on making life easier for Stephen. We live a very low demand lifestyle to accommodate his needs. Despite his own needs, James also supports Stephen as a young carer by helping him to communicate when Stephen can’t and by supporting him to do things.”

Family Fund’s Discover Digital Festival

The family attended Family Fund’s Discover Digital Festival which offers various creative workshops over the summer holidays. A huge thank you to Stone Computers, without their support the Festival would not have been possible.

Ellie says, “We first found out about the festival through a local SEN (Special Educational Needs) Facebook page. Stephen and James attended almost all of the workshops.

“The children learned so many new IT skills that they can take away with them. Stephen and James especially enjoyed the ‘Art Explorers’ and ‘Awesome Advertisers’ workshops.

“The workshops taught the children to be calm and take their time with things, and that not everything has to be perfect by the end of the session. The Discover Digital Festival is a great way for SEN children to learn new IT skills and express themselves creatively with positive, supportive, and fun tutors.

“Attending the workshops was great, and we had lots of support from the Family Fund team when needed. It was good to get a text on the day as well as a reminder email the day before. I have already recommended the Discover Digital Festival to others.”

Article subjects not pictured, pictures used with permission of Family Fund