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Fundraise on the First: Charity helped Bowie to make true friends

PUBLISHED: 12:25 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:25 19 March 2015

Fay Hough with her son Bowie

Fay Hough with her son Bowie

Archant

When Fay Hough’s three-year-old son Bowie was first identified as being autistic, everything finally made sense.

Bowie Hough playing with his favourite toysBowie Hough playing with his favourite toys

The 27-year-old, from Rainham, said: “My mother read out about four or five indicators of autism and it was like someone had written a report on my son.

“For me it was a relief when I found out.”

Fay explained Bowie had not been developing at the same rate as other children, for example he cannot talk.

“It was nice to know I hadn’t been doing something wrong, as a mother,” she said.

After being diagnosed with autism, Bowie attended play sessions at First Step’s centre in Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch.

Fay said: “First Step saved me, I was on the brink.

“The first time he went into the class he was screaming but he got there in the end.

“Now he is playing with me and he has made friends for life.”

It can be very hard for autistic people to befriend others.

Fay continued: “He has made one amazing friend, Danny, and now they have gone on to nursery together.

“They are always playing together and holding hands, they just love each other.”

But despite things getting better, Fay got frustrated at the reactions of people when Bowie had his “meltdowns” in public.

She said: “He can get violent and if you did not know you would just think he is naughty.

“I was tired of getting tutted and frowned at in public.”

That’s why Fay set up an autism awareness Facebook page in December last year.

“Autism is not spoken about as much as it should be and a lot of people struggle to see it because it is a non-physical condition,” Fay said.

The page now has almost 1,500 likes, with people as far away as New Zealand and Japan getting involved.

The weekly case studies, written by parents, sometimes get more than 5,000 views.

Fay said: “I do not claim to be a doctor, it is just parent to parent advice and you can learn a lot from other mums’ experiences.

“I have had parents come up to me and say they have now realised their children are autistic, because of the page.”

For National Autism Week, starting on March 27, Fay, Bowie and 12 other parents and children are going on a trip round the Tube, called Bowie’s Autistic Quest.

“We decided to do this because the London Underground is Bowie’s thing, he is always playing with his District Line trains or learning about Oyster cards.”

Fay and Bowie will be travelling on six different lines to raise money for the National Autistic Society.

So far they have collected almost £500.

Fay praises First Step for improvements in Bowie’s concentration and teaching him to use picture exchange communication system (PECS).

As Bowie is non-verbal, PECS allows him to communicate with Fay through pictures and symbols.

Fay said: “Fist Step were great at keeping us informed.

“Every day after school I would get a report of what Bowie had done and clear directions on what to work on at home.”

Bowie has now finished sessions with First Step, and is currently attending Bridge Nursery with his best friend Danny.

He will start in reception at Corbets Tey School, in Upminster, in September.

To visit Fay’s page go to www.facebook.com/AwarenessForAutismPage and to donate visit www.justgiving.com/wiesAutisticQuest/.


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