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A story of inspiration and achievement

 
Created on 10/01/2011 @ 14:55
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Little Jeorge Berroyer was just 16 months old when his mother suspected something wasn’t quite right.
The toddler had seemed just like any other new born child and had already used words like mum, dad, strawberry, I love you and many more to warm the hearts of his adoring family.
But something just did not seem right. Jeorge became more distant. He would scream and lash out whenever he was taken outside in the car. No one could help and the family were told their son had speech and development delays but, deep down, they knew it was more serious.
Jeorge’s behaviour became more erratic, banging his head daily and terrifying his parents. He was eventually diagnosed with autism in January 2010.
Since then, the family has been on a remarkable life journey, meeting Rupert Isaacson, the bestselling author of ‘The Horse Boy’, which will be screened on Thursday night at Theatr Hafren.
The following story is told through Jeorge’s mother, Kerrie:
“We realised Jeorge wasn't developing at the expected rate around 16 months old. We were terrified. Jeorge didn't want to mix with us or anyone else. While I watched my sister’s little girl six months younger than Jeorge develop normally it became very obvious to us that Jeorge had autism. He was finally diagnosed in January 2010.
Daily we struggled with Jeorge’s terror of his environment. He looks normal as in he has no physical disabilities so people understandably found it difficult to see there was a diagnosis. All they could see was a naughty out of control child and incompetent parents. In the early days I got angry at people, which would manifest into me crying for hours. How would anyone ever understand my darling sweet child? No parent wants to see their child suffering. All we knew was Jeorge was terrified and incredibly anxious. He cannot speak verbally so guessing his fears was often impossible. Now I realise people just do not know enough about autism. So we need to educate people. I have met some amazingly kind hearted people too who see me struggling sometimes out and about.
Doctors and so called experts are often so far removed they have no idea what autism really is. There needs to be much more training for students venturing into early years. I have recently gone to both Brecon and Newtown College and given talks on Jeorge’s autism. It went down very well and both students and staff said they had learnt so much more than they could from reading a book. I urge more parents to give talks on their autism too. I have also met amazing autistic adults who are at college studying and who have independent lives. They are the people we should be learning from. Autism is such a layered and intricate condition that no two autistic people are the same.
Jeorge now attends Ysgol Cedewain special school. They are amazing. They truly understand autism and deeply care for their students. Jeorge adores the teachers and I am learning so much from them, mainly their never ending patience and empathy. Sometimes I dip and find it all so overwhelming. I fear for Jeorge’s future. I wish for a society who can accept him and who will change their ways, rather than expecting so much from my scared little boy.
I have made some very special friends through autism, mums who also deal with this each day. I realise we need that support network to share not only the bad and traumatic times but also the many magical moments that our autistic children bring us. It is not until you have a child with a disability that you very quickly realise how much we as a society have to learn, mainly in the understanding and compassionate areas. All parents and people with disabilities share this realisation. I think in the main we do not wish for pity we wish for patience, understanding and most of all love.
Since I met Rupert (right) in July 2009 we have become friends. His book ‘Horse Boy’ is truly uplifting and tells the story of how his own autistic son was treated through ‘horse therapy’. He has also created four-day camps where families of autism can experience for themselves how horses can play such an uplifting role in their lives.
The whole timing of meeting Rupert was just perfect in that we had moved from Mid Wales and back to Essex. But I desperately missed Mid Wales and Rupert told me his best friend had a beautiful house on the Welsh/Shropshire borders. It had land and stunning views with bridle paths galore. What a great place too for the horse camps! I thought about it for about one second and said yes! On March 22 we moved into Great Argoed, near Churchstoke and since then I have been learning all things horsey. I have had endless meetings for business advice and am now trying to raise about £10,000 to build a horse shelter and shelter for families and to purchase horse equipment, a fridge and microwave and hats etc.
I am hoping that Thursday’s screening of The Horse Boy will raise some cash for us to set the horse boy camps up. Jeorge has had many experiences on horses laying and riding and he loves to be around them. I aim to have five or six horses. I believe the dream will come true. It is incredibly hard work as I am learning so many new skills and concepts! For the love of Jeorge and autism I am so proud to be a part of this magical adventure.”
The Horse Boy will be shown at Theatr Hafren, Newtown, on Thursday, starting at 7pm. Tickets are priced £5.50. For more information, contact Kerrie on 01588 620901, 07538029404 or berroyer@btinternet.com
For more information on the camps, visit www.horseboycamps.co.uk.
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