A MUM from Chester is organising a Christmas market to raise funds for the charity that gave her son his childhood back.
Tanja Sharpe and her sister Eve are behind Candy Canes at Cheshire County Sport Club on Saturday to raise cash for Cheshire Asperger’s Parents Support (ChAPS).
Single mum Tanja, who is originally from South Africa, said: “My son Tai is 12 and diagnosed as having an autistic spectrum condition. His whole life has been one huge struggle and until we moved to Chester last December and found ChAPS, things were very hard for us.”
Tai had been living in Devon and attending a mainstream primary school, where, according to Tanja, he was bullied emotionally and physically.
She said: “He was taunted, spat on and called names like retard. He tried so hard to have friends but had a lack of basic social skills that you or I would take for granted – things like taking turns, reading emotions, rules in games and not being rough.”
Bad treatment from fellow pupils at secondary school meant Tai began to suffer from depression and became suicidal.
Tanja continues: “He didn’t want to go to school and begged me to keep him safe at home.
“Tai’s dreams of being a professional games designer disappeared. He even started to keep a log of the 100 best ways to die and whenever anyone would try and talk to him he would just cry and tell us not to bother because he is ‘a retard and useless and stupid’.”
Eventually Tanja decided to up sticks and move back to Chester to be nearer mum Linda, dad Reg and sister Eve.
She said: “When I arrived, I did some research on support for autism and came across ChAPS. It was like a breath of fresh air. I felt so positive after months of feeling so low and helpless for my beautiful boy who was suffering so much.”
Following support from the charity, Tai is now on day placement at a school for children with special educational needs.
His mum says: “He is thriving, has friends, is back to his bubbly comical self and ready to pursue his career in gaming.
“They are helping him with his speech and language, fitness, emotional wellbeing and loads more. I am so proud of him for everything he has been through.”
Candy Canes Christmas Market is at Cheshire County Sports Club in Upton on Saturday, December 1, from 12-4pm including entertainment from Chester Ladies Choir.