Jacqui McNaughton, writes:

“My name is Jacqui McNaughton.  I am married to my lovely husband, Davy.  I am Mum to my two wonderful sons, Daniel, age 5, and Jude, age 2 / nearly 3.

“My eldest son, Daniel has autism.  He was diagnosed at age 3.  Six months later we started a very basic home run ABA programme with him, which was very successful, but difficult as I didn’t have a team around me and was running it and tutoring myself.  After six months of this I admitted defeat, however, I knew that ABA was the way to go, I just needed to build up a team around me to run it properly.  I did more research into ABA programmes in the UK which led me to find out about Child Autism UK (at the time known as Peach).  I was very excited to hear about Child Autism UK and the programmes that they were running.

“We had an excellent first meeting with our Case Manager, and directly after that we signed up in June 2008.   Very shortly after that I miraculously was able to build up a fabulous team of tutors, and we haven’t looked back since, a year and a half on.

“Daniel has achieved so many wonderful skills and learnt so much on his ABA programme.  The most recent highlights of this being that he is successfully toilet trained and he has just transitioned so smoothly into school, it’s incredible.  He is thriving on all the input.

“I would like to acknowledge here and thank my wonderful team of tutors, past and present.  I would also like to say how fantastic our Case Manager is and has been – THANK YOU!!

“Anyhow, this is supposed to be about the Great South Run!! I just wanted to give some background as to why I choose to raise funds for Child Autism UK.

“Child Autism UK provide such an amazing support to families with children who have autism.  They really do live up to their slogan – Releasing Potential.  They make you feel that anything is possible, and that together we’ll find a way.  I truly wish that this service and support was available to every family that has children with autism.  I am very supportive of the work that Child Autism do in respect of outreach and enabling families to achieve as much as possible.

“To this end I chose to run the Great South Run for Child Autism UK. I have been running now for about 8 years.  I managed to keep my running through two pregnancies and raising two little ones!  I certainly don’t get to go out and train as much as I’d like to, however, I do find it is a lifeline to me and helps me to escape!, switch off, think things through or think nothing and just enjoy my music!!

“The Great South Run was held on Sunday 25th October. The route was around Portsmouth and Southsea.  It was a brilliant atmosphere, and great weather, apart from being a bit blowy along the sea front!!!  The Great South Run route is an interesting one, which starts in Southsea along the front, and then takes you around old Portsmouth, through the historic dockyards – past the Warrior – and then through Portsmouth and looping back to Southsea and along the other end of the front – over the finish line!!  Hurray!!!

“I really enjoyed the run and found that despite worrying I hadn’t done enough training I was able to complete it without too much pain!!!  The last 2 miles were hard as the wind was very strong and we were running into it, but the atmosphere and the support of the crowd is so good along that part that it just drives you on to the finish line.

“I loved the feeling of finishing – there’s nothing better than crossing that line and putting on your medal – you feel like a real Olympian!  The welcome home from my two boys was worth every stride too!!

“I am very happy that the money I raised will be used to support the wonderful work that Child Autism UK (formerly known as Peach) is doing.