This is an article from Unfold magazine.
When a disabled child like Maddi can’t sleep, it can be a nightmare. But with your support, Maddi and her mother Diane have put their sleep problems to bed.
Bad night’s sleep, not-so-good morning
Mornings can be a chaotic time in any household. But they drove Diane to despair. Her eight-year-old daughter Maddi has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD and global developmental delays. Like over 70 per cent of disabled children, she also had problems with sleeping.
Maddi could only sleep in Diane’s bed. Even then she hardly slept a wink, so she found it impossible to get up in the morning. It was a real struggle to get Maddi dressed and into school on time.
Then a social worker started coming to the house and scrutinising the family’s morning routine. “I was made to feel like I was doing everything the wrong way,” Diane says, “like I was a bad mum.”
The day started badly – and then got worse
You won’t be surprised that all this took its toll on single mum Diane. She was completely exhausted from looking after Maddi and her other son Ronan, who also has ADHD.
Diane’s grown-up daughter helped when she could, but there was no support from outside the family.
“Most parents get a break in the evening, but I actually had to go to bed with Maddi. She’d have screaming fits if I wasn’t there with her. There was no respite, no break, no support – it was literally 24/7.”
You helped put Diane’s mind at rest
Diane and her children were all alone, in a difficult place. But one morning, there was a glimmer of hope – the family’s health worker told Diane about our Face 2 Face Befriending Service.
Your support meant that we could put her in touch with Vicky, a trained befriender with two disabled children of her own.
At last, Diane was able to receive the emotional support she needed from someone who knew what she was going through.
“I see Scope as an extension of my family. Vicky has made my life so much easier. She was the only one who told me, ‘there’s no need to question yourself, you’re doing the right thing’”.
You turned nightmares into sweet dreams
Diane’s befriender also introduced her to Scope’s Sleep Solutions Service. Our specialist sleep practitioner Kate could develop a tailored programme for Maddi.
Kate advised Diane to redecorate Maddi’s bedroom to make it more calming; the distracting Disney pictures on the wall made way for a soothing, gentle colour scheme.
Under Kate’s expert guidance, Diane started sleeping apart from Maddi on every third night.
Eventually, after lots of tossing and turning, Maddi got used to spending the whole night on her own.
A new dawn, all because of you
The difference you’ve made to their lives has been amazing. Maddi is now sleeping soundly in her own bed, and she wakes up on time. She always starts the day with a smile – and with plenty of energy.
How gifts from supporters have helped parents like Diane
- £5 enabled a befriender to spend an hour with a parent who was struggling to cope, providing emotional support
- £45 went towards a home visit from a Scope worker like Kate, providing expert advice and reassurance
- £200 helped cover the cost of training, so people like Kate are equipped
For Diane, her words sum up what your support means:
“The change is unbelievable. It’s been a complete turnaround. I’m much happier, and so are the children. Without Scope, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Thank you”
Over 70 per cent of disabled children have problems with sleep. Thanks to supporters like you, 600 families were able to get a better night’s sleep last year.