Wendy and Christopher's story: Hope for parents of children with autism
As a single mother to Christopher who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, Wendy often found it difficult to make time for herself. With limited support, things often got stressful. In 2014 Wendy signed up for a course to help parents of children with Autism ran in Coventry. The coping techniques and group discussions had a profound impact on Wendy and she decided to get fully trained to become a tutor on the programme to help parents in similar situation.
The Hope Programme gave Wendy renewed focus on her own needs: “I found it helped me personally to take time for myself and think about my own health and wellbeing. It is really good to talk to other parents who know what you are going through. Sometimes you can feel really isolated, so it is good to see you are not alone.”
Since becoming a volunteer Hope tutor and facilitator, Wendy has delivered over 20 courses to 300 parents in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“I wanted to share the tools I learnt with as many people as possible.”
Wendy was one of the original founders and directors of H4C. She continues to run our volunteer led face-to-face courses and to spread hope amongst parents of children with complex needs.
We have been delivering Hope for Parents of Children with Autism in partnership with Carers Trust Heart of England since 2014. The courses are led by parent volunteers with first hand experience of caring for children with ASD or ADHD. Over 300 parents have attended the face-to-face version of the course with many parents reporting improved mental wellbeing, hope and gratitude.
We are now undertaking a study evaluating a digital group self-management version of the programme, called iHope. In partnership with Carers Trust Heart of England and Coventry University the free online course to improve parents and carers’ emotional health and wellbeing starts in January 2019.