Two Caerphilly County Borough families have had their children helped by a charity providing them with specialist equipment.
Newlife specialises in supporting children affected by disabilities and terminal illness.
Five-year-old Gavin, from Caerphilly, was diagnosed with autism just before his third birthday, and has limited speech with very little understanding of certain commands, which can cause frustration.
He releases his emotions through screaming or physically hitting out, putting himself and others at risk during car journeys.
Gavin has no awareness of danger and often escaped his car seat during trips.
With no statutory funding available to pay for a £680 five-point harness car seat, Gavin’s mother, Sara Elworthy, turned to Newlife.
She said: “Getting Gavin to school in the mornings was a daily struggle because he would always protest about not going. When putting him into his standard car seat he would hit out at me, kicking his legs.
“He would slide out of his seat and start lashing out at me.”
In the new car seat, Gavin is safer, and can’t wriggle out.
Sara added: “Gavin isn’t able to get out of the seat and he cannot take off his clothes. He may have meltdowns because he is unable to do these things but I know that he is safe and so am I when driving.
“We are no longer limited to how far we can travel as Gavin is relaxed, less upset and anxious.”
The charity is also appealing for donations after loaning a specialist bed to a boy from Llanbradach with cerebral palsy.
Eight-year-old Mason has a form of the condition which means his arms and legs are stiff and rigid, and he experiences painful spasms as a result. He can’t sit, walk or talk, and has undergone five surgeries.
After his most recent hospital visit, doctors told Mason’s parents, Rachel and Darren, that they couldn’t discharge him unless there was a suitable bed at home to keep him safe.
Newlife have provided the required bed through an emergency equipment loan, but are trying to raise the £3,011 needed to secure the bed on a permanent basis.
Equipment loans are for around six months, while the charity works with local services to secure them permanently.
The bed ensures Mason’s head is raised, preventing him from choking, and has padding to stop him from hurting himself as his arms and legs spasm.
His mother, Rachel, said: “A standard bed wouldn’t be comfortable for him at all, but in the loan bed he is safe, comfortable and sleeps better in general.
“If we have a permanent specialist bed Mason will be safe – and we have been told the NHS will supply a sleep system which will also help to keep him in position and give him the extra support he needs.
“Having a permanent bed would be a weight off my mind.”
Newlife has supported 49 families in Caerphilly County Borough, with equipment totalling £46,380, and is currently receiving more equipment grant applications than during its entire 25-year history.
Visit www.newlifecharity.co.uk/caerphilly for more information.