When his two sons, aged 3 and 5, were first diagnosed with autism, Tony Weston worried about how to help them grow up to lead full and independent lives. He didn’t know much about autism or the best way to help.
The National Autistic Society's EarlyBird course gave his family the knowledge and support they needed to look after their sons. EarlyBird supports parents during the period between diagnosis and school placement, helping them to understand the complexities of autism and find ways to develop communication and interaction through specialist techniques and tools.
A heroic fundraising effort
After using the service, Tony decided to take on a fundraising challenge for the NAS. As a keen cyclist, he chose do the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, a 100 mile cycling challenge following the route made famous by 2012's Olympic cycling heroes. Starting at the Olympic Park, the route traverses the villages and hills of Surrey before returning to central London and finishing on The Mall.
This challenge is my way of giving something back to the NAS, helping them to support other families affected by autism to live the lives they choose.
Autism affects each person differently but everyone shares certain difficulties, particularly around communicating and relating to others, like my boys. Only through public understanding of the condition can we ensure that the right support is put in place for both of them and others like them.
If this ride gets just a few more people talking about the condition, all the months of training will have been worth it."
The NAS would not be able to keep programmes like the EarlyBird course going without the generous support of people like Tony. If you would like to get involved with fundraising for the NAS, email email@example.com or call 0808 800 1050.