A West Bridgford mum-of-two has praised two Nottingham organisations for the work they have done with her autistic son Duncan.
Linda Jones has spent 16 years as a specialist teacher for young children with autism.
She has seen her son progress so much over the last year that she is thanking both charity Autism East Midlands and Nottingham College for the support they have given 21-year-old Duncan.
The two organisations have helped him overcome his previous difficulties and start to enjoy new experiences.
In the past, Duncan found certain everyday things very difficult. For example, he is not very relaxed around animals and has always struggled with air travel.
He has also been introverted and isolated in the past. Since participating in day activities and holidays with Autism East Midlands, and attending Nottingham College’s Stapleford campus for a Supported Learning course, Duncan has progressed so much that he can now experience many more things.
Autism East Midlands provide help and support to families and individuals affected by autism from across Nottinghamshire and beyond, and have been working with Duncan for more than six years.
Linda, who ran a support group for parents of children with autism for 15 years, said: “Duncan used to find air travel upsetting as he just wanted to run up and down the aisle the whole time.
“We didn’t fly for years after he screamed all the way to Portugal and back. Autism East Midlands have resolved this issue, as he’s flown with them to Florida, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Spain.
“Now we can fly with him and have done for the last two years.”
At Nottingham College, staff in the supported learning team have worked with Duncan to help him communicate with others and to bring him out of his shell.
Linda said: “Duncan loves college and he’s come on in leaps and bounds this year. I can’t praise Dee Edwards at Nottingham College enough for all she’s done for Duncan, and the support and communication that I need and appreciate.
“His demeanour has changed from an introverted, isolated child into a happy, more talkative and sometimes mischievous young man.”
Autism East Midlands were so impressed with Duncan’s progress over the last year, that they presented him with their Young Person of the Year Award at a ceremony earlier this summer, as part of the charity’s 50th birthday celebrations.
Dawn Franklin, Head of Children’s Flexible Services at Autism East Midlands, said: “Duncan is a delightful young man that has grown in both confidence and independence over the last few years. He is always a pleasure to have around and is always happy to take on new challenges.”
Dee Edwards, Lecturer at Nottingham College, said: “Duncan has really progressed over the past year with us, and has started to show his cheeky side which is wonderful to see.
“We’re so pleased with the steps we have made together. We’ve been able to help him explore new foods and he’s shown a creative side both in craft and IT sessions.”