“Casper’s foster carer’s dedication to him and their desire to see him reaching his potential is a shining light.”
Casper is being celebrated on World Autism Awareness Day for his growth and progression over the past 4 years with the support of his foster carers.
It is often the case that foster carers make an incredible difference to the life of a child without realising it. Casper was placed with his foster carers in 2016 when he was just 6 years old. When he first arrived, he had a lot of anxiety around food and sitting at the table to eat with others. Casper would often have ‘meltdowns’ becoming overwhelmed which resulted in thrown toys. He also had particular sensory needs which he coped with by switching lights on and off, posting items out of windows and watching washing machines spin.
Initially, Casper was only comfortable with eating two types of food and would not consider any variety in his diet. It took his foster carers two years of trust building and desensitising with Casper before they could encourage him to try new foods. The progression has been such that they are now able to sit at the table and eat dinner together. We have been told that Casper very much enjoys a roast dinner and can now be incentivised to try different food types.
Early on Casper’s foster carers identified that too much information led to over-stimulation. To manage this, they have adopted and implemented strategies and techniques to provide a structured routine for Casper in his environment utilising planners and timetables. Information is given to Casper in bitesize pieces on the same day, so he does not have the opportunity to overthink.
Casper’s foster carers told us that this Christmas seemed to be the first one he enjoyed. To assist with the anticipation and build-up of Christmas, which can be overwhelming, they introduced an advent calendar in the shape of an Owl, which Casper had control of each day to change the date nearer to Christmas. This helped Casper to feel as though he was in control of the process. This was also the first year that Casper wrote and posted a letter to Father Christmas. His foster carers said “Father Christmas bought him the present he’d asked for and he was so excited, it was really nice and lovely to see.” Over the last 12 months Casper has become much more independent in his choices and is content to play alone. Casper will choose to listen to audio books in his bedroom. Casper’s foster carers fully support the growth in him becoming more independent and choosing what he wants to interact with. Our Autism Behaviour Specialist, Jan Harris said “Casper’s foster carer’s dedication to him and their desire to see him reaching his potential is a shining light.”