Rifleman Shaun Twigg's youngest son Freddie has autism, SSAFA helped create a safe haven for him at home.
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When Rifleman Shaun Twigg is on Tour, his wife Sara looks after the household and their two young autistic sons.
Freddie, their youngest, requires round the clock supervision which has meant many sleepless nights for Sara. She explained, “Freddie is completely non verbal and has sensory processing issues which makes it difficult to understand what he wants or needs. He has no awareness of danger and needs constant supervision to stay safe, and his body doesn’t make sufficient hormones to allow him to fall into and sustain sleep. He takes daily medication to help with this sleep patterns but it does not always work.”
“He sometimes puts things into his mouth and chokes on them or he will become frustrated and aggressive, often banging his head and kicking walls. Late at night when I am not close by, I would find him hurt and unable to tell me how he did it. It was heart-breaking.”
“I was so afraid Freddie would hurt himself and we would not hear him. It was affecting everyone’s routine. Tiredness made everything seem harder.”
Sara’s social worker and occupational therapist explained that a safe space would be the best option for Freddie. Whilst Shaun’s battalion was on a two month exercise in Kenya, Sara spoke to the battalion’s welfare officer about fundraising for a safe space. Their recommendation was to contact SSAFA.
“We were blown away by the support we received. I had no idea that as a military family we were eligible for support. The welfare team had no clue about our situation because we had never discussed it with them.”
“I felt a weight had been lifted. Shaun was so relieved that I wasn't alone in trying to cope with Freddie’s needs when he is away.”
“Freddie’s safe space is custom built from materials that are strong enough to withstand even adults thrashing from the inside. The safe space will last Freddie for as long for as he needs. It can be closed safely at night to prevent him from wandering while his family sleeps. If he becomes frustrated he can calm down where he feels safe without hurting himself.”
“Thank you doesn't seem enough. The help we received really was life changing. Now we can sleep soundly knowing our son is safe. SSAFA helped us do that.”