A devoted mum from Kingsley is appealing for volunteers to help home-school her 10-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism in 2008.
Natalie Armstrong, 38, of Top Road, is looking for new recruits to add to her ‘amazing team’ of seven volunteers who teach Jack the Son-Rise programme, a home-based play therapy which originated in America in 1974.
Shortly after returning from a family weekend away in Blackpool, Jack became withdrawn and stopped talking or making eye contact.
Instead he retreated into his own world, preferring to play with bits of wire and string rather than with his toys.
Jack was diagnosed with autism and learning delays just before his fifth birthday.
Since Natalie and her husband Mark took Jack out of a special needs school to commit to Son-Rise full-time, their beloved son has made ‘so many strides’.
Natalie said: “I never expected to be home-schooling Jack, I never expected Jack to regress. But I found a programme that is helping him.
“I see the joy when the volunteers come out of their sessions with Jack and how excited they are when Jack has said their name or enjoys their games.
“I also see their love of joining in and how they can see the difference it makes to Jack and the smile that appears on Jacks face when they do.
“He loves the belief in him that people show and the way that they show him the world is an amazing, fun place.”
The new additions to the team will use techniques from the programme to help Jack improve his speech, attention span and flexibility.
“We ask that people have energy, enthusiasm and excitement, and don’t mind wearing a silly hat or glasses or reading the Lion King in a lion’s voice or making your own musical band to really want to make a difference in my little boy’s life,” Natalie said.
Volunteers will receive full training and travel expenses.
Jack’s army of supporters are fundraising for a Son-Rise teacher from America to visit their home later this year for extra training and one-to-one tuition with Jack.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit www.joiningjacksteam.co.uk , email Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 07988 435877.