Dad's run to help others like Jacob

EVERY night before they go to bed this family make sure they switch the moonlight on.Because six-year-old Jacob Wash is autistic and each evening he checks the sky for the moon and refuses to go to sleep unless the moonlight is there.

EVERY night before they go to bed this Felixstowe family make sure they switch the moonlight on.

Because six-year-old Jacob Wash is autistic and each evening he checks the sky for the moon and refuses to go to sleep unless the moonlight is there.

Today his dad Darren is preparing to run a gruelling 26 miles to raise money for the National Autistic Society (NAS) who have been vital in helping the Wash family come to terms and cope with Jacob's condition.

When the family, which consists of dad Darren, mum, Michelle and three-year-old brother, Samuel, first discovered Jacob was autistic it was a huge bombshell but now they take this unusual behaviour for granted.

And Mr Wash, 38, said without the help of the NAS he would still not be able to tell the difference between when Jacob was being naughty and when the autism was making him behave strangely.

Which is why he is so determined to give something back to the charity by signing up for this year's London Marathon.

Most Read

Mr Wash, of Eaton Gardens, Felixstowe, said: “They have helped us so much and made it easier to cope with everything.

“Jacob was slow to develop between six months and two years. Then he lost some words and we didn't know what to think because we didn't know anything about autism.

“Then we had a paediatrician who came in and took one look at him and said 'he's autistic'.

“It was a massive bombshell, we didn't know anything about it and we didn't know what to do next.

“It was all our worst fears.”

But since the diagnosis life has got easier for Jacob, who now goes to Langer Primary School in Felixstowe, because his family finally understand him.

Mr Wash added: “Jacob's autism means everyday is filled with problems like 'will it rain?' because Jacob is frightened of the rain and will not go out.

“He cannot tell us how he is feeling, what he likes or dislikes.

“Normal routines become obsessions, cups of tea cannot be drunk by anyone in our house because Jacob is obsessed by tea cups and no cups can be half-full.

“Christmas, as far as Jacob is concerned, does not mean a thing and is just an interruption to his day.”

Mr Wash said that without the support of the NAS he would not have known how to cope with these situations.

He added: “The NAS were so good to use because they answered all our questions and provided so much support.

“Without them it would have been so much harder to manage. That is why I'm determined to raise money for them.

“Plus I'm looking forward to the marathon. Running helps me unwind and keeps me fit, and Michelle has now taken up jogging too.

“I'm just hoping I can make a bit of a difference and help children like Jacob and families like us.”

n Are you running the marathon for a good cause? Contact Rebecca on 01473 3248022 or e-mail rebecca.lefort@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK

www.justgiving.com/switchthemoonlighton

Autism

n Autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects how the brain functions.

n It affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people and how they make sense of the world around them.

n Symptoms of autism can vary from person to person, and can range from mild to very severe.

n Research suggests that two to three people in every 1,000 have autism in the UK.

n Autism affects three times as many males than females.

n There is no cure for autism and it continues throughout life but there are many treatments that can help to control the symptoms.

Source: NHS health encyclopaedia

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter