Jess and Harvey’s story
For many families, Leeds Mencap provides a place of reassurance – somewhere to visit, relax and gain professional support, advice and practical help for the whole family, long term. We explore the story of Jess and how our services were so crucial to her and her son at the early stages.
Jess is mum to Harvey, who has been diagnosed with autism, sensory issues and developmental delays as well as stomach and sleep problems. She and Harvey began visiting our Hawthorn Specialist Playroom, a specialised setting that provides early intervention and support for young children with a range of learning disabilities.
Our staff also introduced Jess to family support services and she began to have regular meetings with our family support worker, Kath, who has extensive experience supporting families. Kath supported Jess by helping her to complete the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) application, signposting her to new groups that she and Harvey could join and helping him to get school transport. Kath was also there for Jess if she ever needed to chat through any concerns about Harvey’s health.
Jess said: ‘Leeds Mencap had a huge impact on my life. For Harvey, Hawthorn gave him his first taste of education with friendly and trustworthy staff. It opened his life up to new groups and enabled him to access sensory equipment which proved vital to his development.
For both of us, it has given us an opportunity to bond as a mother and son. What’s more, I have been able to meet with other parents in the same position as me and share my concerns. The support I’ve received has been life changing and I’m eternally grateful.’
Through our support, Harvey has now moved on and has settled in at a local special needs school but the doors at Leeds Mencap will always be open.