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A parent's perspective - Zahraa shares how great Focus Surrey has been for her and her son

I discovered Focus Surrey after someone at my yoga class told me about the club. I had already heard about ABA but due to the costs and difficulties of finding an ABA professional, we were unable to start a home programme.

I had tried other therapies with my son but they didn't work out. Zaid was unable to participate for very long and didn't want me to be alongside him. However, with Focus Surrey, every time he reaches the venue he is happy to go inside. He is able to focus well and is much calmer. He has made a friend at the club and they sit and play together. It is great to see him sharing toys and playing with another child as previously he would just take the toy and go off by himself.

I can relax for the two hours we are at the club as I know that Zaid is in good hands. He enjoys his time there, and all the volunteers are lovely. They play some great games with Zaid and there is a fantastic outdoor area with a large trampoline that all the children love. Zaid is listening better now and accepting no. He is no longer to trying to eat inedible items, and he is using PECS more to communicate.

The consultants have created Zaid’s own communication board at the club so he can pick and choose what toys he wants to use. This has been so helpful, especially as PECS and a core board are being used at Zaid's school so now when he doesn't want to do something he can point to 'no' and if he wants to go swimming, for example, he will point to the swimming image or if he wants to go to sleep he will point to the picture of a bed.

Apart from the benefits of the club for Zaid, Zahraa also says that she enjoys being in the parents room and talking about therapies with other parents. She also appreciates the understanding from other families who are often going through the same things and so can really empathise, and being able to share knowledge and information is invaluable.

Zaid understands Arabic and English even if he doesn’t speak them. He follows instructions more and seems happy and calm. If he is in pain he finds it hard to express that and will be agitated and crying, but now his health is good and you can see he is happy, he accepts going to sleep or going to the toilet. He used to hit, bite and kick, but now he is much calmer. Whenever I hear about other therapies I try them, every little helps.

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