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CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM FRED

This entry was posted on Dec 11 2013

Dear Friend

It’s that time of year again…I thought I would talk straight away about Fred and his family  (Fred and his struggles were the inspiration behind my setting up of the charity) and  I know  many of you are interested in everything that happens to him and his family.

 Fred has not been a beneficiary of The Fred Foundation for four years since the family had to up sticks, sell up and leave their home to fight yet another battle for funding at a special school, this time in Buckinghamshire.

 Whilst their fight for funding was happily successful, for reasons too complicated to go into, the school placement failed after eighteen months with his parents trying to make it work for another two years.

 After this long protracted struggle with the school and the worsening, destructive behaviour at home, an accident necessitating the emergency services finally gave the family some much needed ammunition to counter the glacial speed of the official channels and provide the inarguable evidence that very, very sadly, Fred needed to be in a residential, specialist school.  After a further 3 month battle involving councillors, MPs and a wonderful policewoman, he was finally granted a place at an amazing residential school where I am delighted to say he is making great progress.  

 Fred is much, much happier. All his violent behaviours went within a month as he is now with people who are trained specifically in teaching children with autism and can understand him. The whole ethos of the new school is exercise, exercise and more exercise within a structured environment. He loves working on the school farm, climbing and riding.

The impact on the whole family and particularly the twins, after 14 years of battling against an intransigent, highly bureaucratic council and begging for help from psychologists, psychiatrists, Social Care, Education and Health departments has been profound – but slowly and surely, they are clawing their life back.

 The struggle is not yet over for Fred and his family as they battle to get appropriate support for when Fred comes home – the ‘powers that be’ seem to think that Fred’s autism has miraculously disappears over the holiday periods!

 This story proves once again how crucial it is to get the right education for children with autism. It makes such a massive difference for both the child and their families and is the reason why we set up The Fred Foundation in the first place – helping families to struggle on and fight for what is right.

 As you also may know the majority of fundraising done for The Fred Foundation was masterminded by Fred’s mum and I.   The sad story above may go some way towards explaining  why Fred’s mum has not been able to be involved lately – she has been trying to keep her family alive!  The family have barely seen any of their friends old and new and sometimes this makes them very sad and is very tough on Fred’s siblings.

 On a positive note we have appointed a new trustee to add to our happy band and we still run a very active blog helping and replying to desperate parents. Also, although we have significantly less money to grant, the numbers of people asking for help has not reduced.  Last year and this Christmas we will be making small awards to families to keep their various education programmes afloat, supporting them whilst they fight on for funding after losing at Special Educational Tribunals.  Often these cases go on to appeal at the High Court or are heard again at Tribunal.  Sustaining education programmes during this time is critical for these children and families and we are proud to say that our beneficiaries have a 100% success rate in finally achieving the right provision to meet their autistic children’s needs.

  To all of you that have helped them and us over the years, many, many thanks and have a lovely holiday season and New Year.

12/10/13

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