Mum's praise for service helping her communicate with non-verbal son, 3

Ipswich mum Emily Gillingham with her son Harry, who is non-verbal

Ipswich mum Emily Gillingham with her son Harry, who is non-verbal - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

An Ipswich mum is hoping to raise hundreds of pounds to give back to a service that has been instrumental in allowing her to communicate with her non-verbal son.

Emily Gillingham, 31, is set to line up for a half-marathon at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in London, on September 5 in support of West Suffolk Hospital-based charity My WiSH.

Mrs Gillingham and her husband Neil took their three-year old son Harry, who is on the autism spectrum and has never spoken a word, to a children's speech therapy service last October, as they had no way of communicating with their child.

Harry was referred to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, and regularly attends St Helen's House, in Ipswich, where his speech and language therapist Anna Carter has been developing his communication skills.

Neil and Emily Gillingham with their children, Nellie-May and Harry

Neil and Emily Gillingham with their children, Nellie-May and Harry - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

During his sessions Harry, whose twin sister Nellie-May has no signs of any similar issues, has made significant progress and can now communicate using cards.

Mrs Gillingham has already completed three half-marathons and is preparing her next challenge in her bid to raise cash for My WiSH, which supports the work of West Suffolk Hospital and in the community.

Her JustGiving page is nearing its goal of raising £500.

Mrs Gillingham said: "You don't really appreciate the art of communication, pointing, nodding, facial expressions, verbal words until you don't have them or they are not understood.

Mrs Gillingham is running a half-marathon in London in support of West Suffolk Hospital charity My WiSH

Mrs Gillingham is running a half-marathon in London in support of West Suffolk Hospital charity My WiSH - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Most Read

"Hopefully, this service will encourage Harry to speak soon. His journey is not over yet, but we are so proud of how far he has come.

"Beforehand there was a lot less eye contact and we didn't know if Harry knew colours. But this has opened up a channel.

"It was very tough in the beginning. Harry couldn't tell us what he needed, which was so frustrating for him.

"I wanted to do something to raise funds for the service and help them to get some equipment.

"The things that they taught him and the work that they do is so invaluable. It’s just so beneficial to have therapists who understand."

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