Mum 'can't stop smiling' as trampoline park further backs campaign

JJ and his mum Amanda Cachia, who both live in Ipswich 

JJ and his mum Amanda Cachia, who both live in Ipswich - Credit: Amanda Cachia

A mum-of-four who spoke up when her autistic son was not able to use a trampoline park in Ipswich has successfully campaigned to raise awareness of hidden disabilities across the UK.

Amanda Cachia, 45, “can’t stop smiling” as her efforts have been appreciated and children with disabilities can now also enjoy fun activities. 

JJ and his mum Amanda Cachia

JJ and his mum Amanda Cachia - Credit: Amanda Cachia

Amanda’s son, JJ, now 11, was turned away from Jump In, a trampoline adventure park in Ipswich, on his birthday because he was unable to wear T-shirts due to sensory issues. 

JJ’s mum raised the issue with Jump In management and said that they have been "brilliant" in regard to understanding her son’s problems.   

Working with  Daniel Lee Harvey, an Ipswich-based disability campaigner, and Jump In management they discussed targets for the club in order to ensure they promote inclusivity and are autism-friendly. 

Amanda said: “I'm just so proud that I never just kept quiet and walked away. Changes needed to be made, and I'm so proud of myself for speaking up.   

JJ, who is 11 years old, and has a global development delay as well as autism

JJ who is 11 years old and has a global development delay as well as autism - Credit: Amanda Cachia

“There are many individuals, like my JJ, who have particular needs. 

“In this case, JJ's disability wasn't visible because he's not physically but mentally disabled. 

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“Education is the key point. People have to know that not all disabilities are visible.”  

Jump In is working in partnership with Autism and ADHD and rolled out training to all of its venues around supporting neurodiverse young people and adults. 

Emma Hunt, Jump In Ipswich site manager, said: "The team were really engaged in the My ND Place training, and the team wanted to know how we could help and improve, and most of all understand. It's just another way of Jump In going higher.

"The training was really eye-opening and it gave me a totally different understanding to when I started."

Daniel Lee Harvey said: "I believe if you are in the position to help someone, you do it and thankfully, this had led to changing a negative experience into a positive one. 

" I reached out and supported Amanda in a meeting with executive management and it was very clear to me from the beggining that they wanted to treat this experience as a learning opportunity."

Amanda, who lives in the Chantry area, said she has received great feedback from other parents. 

The mum-of-four said: “A lot of parents are now going to start taking their disabled children out.   

JJ who is 11 years old and has a global development delay as well as autism

JJ who is 11 years old and has a global development delay as well as autism - Credit: Amanda Cachia

“Taking our children trampolining or swimming stims them a lot. 

“It's amazing and I hope there will be even more education done." 

Amanda said she feels very happy that JJ, who has a global developmental delay as well as autism, is more included in the children's usual activities.  

She said: “He's happier as he can go and jump and not be stopped from doing all those things.  

“He's a happy little boy. He doesn't stop smiling, as do most of our children with autism.  

“I know lots of little JJ's and yes, I think I've made a few little JJ's happy out there.” 

Amanda said that her aim is to raise awareness and “get people to be more understanding and inclusive of all disabilities”.  

JJ’s mum added: “If I'm put in a situation where I have to speak out again, I will.”