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Rainham woman trying to raise funds for therapy for three-year-old autistic son

21:00 06 March 2013

Kerry Burchell with her son Alfie

Kerry Burchell with her son Alfie

Archant

The mum of a brave boy with a severe form of autism is appealing for help so that he can receive therapy treatment in America.

Kerry Burchell from Hawthorn Avenue, Rainham is trying to raise £5,000 so that her three-year-old son, Alfie can undergo the Son-Rise therapy, that is not available in the UK.

She said: “Alfie’s autism is so severe that he misses out on family parties, we can’t take him to fetes because he gets scared, even a trip to the shops turns into a nightmare.

“He looks really sad and this treatment is the only thing that will give him the chance of leading some kind of a normal life.”

The mum-of-two has organised a fun day taking place at Timbuk 2 in Folkes Lane, Upminster on Saturday, in an attempt to raise some of the funds needed.

Alfie was diagnosed with severe pervasive development disorder (PDD) last year, but she says that she first noticed something was wrong when he suddenly stopped talking and started biting himself at 18 months.

Kerry, 23 said: “I thought that he was punishing me, because it was the first night that I left him to go out and then I noticed the next day he refused to give me eye contact.

“Now life is just a daily struggle, he is constantly hurting himself, banging his head and he can’t even walk down the street because his behaviour is so severe.”

She added: “This treatment is the only thing that is going to give me my son back.”

Alfie attends Bridge Nursery in Hornchurch where he has been undergoing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a treatment that uses a system of rewards to teach a child skills and to behave according to social norms, but Kerry says that recently Alfie has regressed on the programme.

The Son-Rise therapy, available in America, is an alternative to the ABA, where parents are encouraged to learn about their children’s repetitive behaviour and then work with them to change it.

As part of the treatment, Kerry would have to make the first visit to the centre to get techniques to deal with Alfie, before Alfie started receiving treatment.

Kerry said: “There is nothing like this in the UK, America is so far ahead of us and I think this is the only thing that will give my son a good chance in life.”

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