Sheffield single mum’s autism campaign

Charlene Woracker.
Charlene Woracker.
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A Sheffield single mum is calling on parents of children with special needs to share their experiences to help each other feel less isolated.

Charlene Woracker, aged 25, said she has struggled at times bringing up her son Joshua who has autism.

The Charnock resident has now joined forces with Fixers – a charity that gives young people a voice – to get her message across. Her story has been listed on the charity’s website at www.fixers.org.uk

The part-time model, who also has another son called Leyton, said: “I think just being a mum in general is challenging, so having a child with additional needs just makes it even harder.

“When Joshua was diagnosed, all I got was a leaflet about the condition. I didn’t know where to turn for support, and I often felt very isolated trying to deal with it.

“I feel it’s really important for other parents who are going through a similar situation to share their stories because it gives you a sense of normality. It makes you feel so much better to know that there are other people out there who are going through the same things.”

Karen Hoe, a parent adviser for the Yorkshire and Humber branch of Contact a Family, a charity which helps families of children with disabilities, is also supporting Charlene’s campaign.

She said: “Our research shows that over 70 percent of parents of children with special needs and disabilities feel isolated. They’re feeling anxious and lonely and scared and don’t know where to turn once they’ve had a diagnosis.

“It’s invaluable to hear other people’s stories and to help share experiences because it makes you feel that you’re not on your own - that you’ve actually got someone who can help listen and support you and understand what you’re going through on a daily basis.”

Fixers works with young people aged 16 to 25 across the UK by providing them with professional resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about. The charity has helped more than 19,000 youngsters to get their point across on issues such as cyber-bullying, self-harm and suicide.