Morag Mathie, Theo’s Mum, writes:

“My son Theo is in his words “the greatest boy in the universe”. Actually I agree and its very special for me to hear him say those words because Theo didn’t speak, even to say “Mum” or “Dad” till he was 3 years old. Until Child Autism UK (then known as Peach) helped him find his voice.

“It is hard to imagine the pain felt by parents not to hear those most natural, bonding words.  Worse to then be told that they may never hear them, or be able to communicate, interact or share hugs, emotions and laughter with their child.  A diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder often leaves families in despair, their dreams, expectations and aspirations for their little ones cruelly, instantly replaced by a terrifying, unpredictable, unknown future, seemingly out of their control.  While they grieve for the loss of the ‘normal’ child they had nurtured, many are also struggling to deal with challenging, often harmful and frightening behaviours from their child who is unable to make sense of the world and who is scared and confused, preferring to shut everything out and opt for a lonely and solitary existence. Imagine the agony of having to watch your child’s pain yet be unable to help, to reach them.  There is little understanding or help available at this heartbreaking time.

“I could not accept that future for my son and searched till I found someone somewhere to help me to help him. I was lucky, I found Child Autism UK. Child Autism UK are there to help with advice, practical support and strategies to help educate and care for affected children and their families.

“Theo is now a happy, healthy, smiley, communicative, loving caring and very cuddly son and brother. By climbing Kilimanjaro and raising money for Child Autism UK I hope I gave something back to say THANK YOU for helping us to realise the potential of such a lovely lovely boy.

“Theo’s ‘challenge’ is far greater than any mountain I could every climb. Every day he battles with things we take for granted, speaking, listening, communicating, interacting, and understanding. Child Autism UK is Theo’s ‘Guide’ on his journey, his ‘climb’  He was my inspiration to get to the top of Kilimanjaro with the same tenacity, bravery and good humour he shows every day just to be able to “be part of the real world” I’m proud to be his mum.”