Emma look anxious

“Christmas used to be the loneliest day for me and my daughter”

Emma is a single mum to daughter Michaela, who has been diagnosed with autism and global developmental delay. Here Emma explains the challenges of raising a disabled child on her own. Emma talks about how isolated they felt prior to joining Scope’s befriending service.

You can make all the difference this Christmas. Please donate today to help provide another family with life changing support.

Are you looking forward to Christmas? I hope so, because it should be such a happy time. And when you see the decorations go up, you really feel it’s not far away. But if you’re not looking forward to it so much, I understand. I remember when I couldn’t bear to hear any Christmas music or put decorations up.

That’s why I’m writing this blog, because I want to make sure no family of a disabled child has a Christmas like the one we had.

When my daughter Michaela was eventually diagnosed with autism and global developmental delay, in some ways it felt like a relief. Finally I understood why Michaela still wasn’t speaking, and why she found it so difficult to keep calm.

I was worried for Michaela’s future.

Then Michaela’s behaviour became really challenging. Because she couldn’t speak, I didn’t know how to help. Being a single mum, I didn’t have anyone to turn to for support. I was completely exhausted, and I started to feel really low.

Mother sitting with her daughter
Emma sitting with her daughter Michaela

When Christmas came around, I felt like I couldn’t go on. It seemed as though every other family was spending happy times together. Then there was me and Michaela, struggling to cope alone. I just wanted to scream.

By donating to Scope you could make sure that another disabled child and their family doesn’t reach breaking point at Christmas

And I know I’m not the only one who felt this way about Christmas – Scope tell me that they expect 5,000 families to contact them over the festive season, looking for support.

For me, everything changed the moment I called Scope.

Scope put me in touch with Sonia, whose son finds it difficult to communicate verbally – just like Michaela. Sonia and I clicked straightaway. It was such a relief to talk to someone who knows what it’s actually like to find out their child is disabled. Sonia understands how devastating a diagnosis can be. And she’s always there – for advice, for reassurance, or just for a chat.

Mother and her daughter smiling
Emma giving piggy back to her daughter Michaela

I don’t know where we would be without Scope.

Sadly, many families are going without the support they need – because unfortunately due to high demand Scope can only answer 44% of the calls to their helpline.

Scope has completely changed the way I feel about the future.

Sonia helped me see that it is possible for Michaela to have an independent life. And I also feel different about Christmas. Last year Michaela was happier because she could see that I was so much happier. On Christmas Day, Sonia and I sent each other text messages, saying “Merry Christmas”. It meant so much to know that someone was out there, thinking of us and wishing us well.

Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas.

Emma’s story shows that lives can be changed for the better with the right support. With a donation today, you could help ensure Christmas isn’t the loneliest day for the 5000 families, expected to turn to Scope for support over the festive period.

Donate today to support more disabled children and their families  

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

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