A FATHER whose son went from not talking to being able to recite the alphabet forwards and backwards in less than a year, has raised more than £300 for the Redcar and Cleveland Early Support & Portage Service.
Mark Loughran, the Head Chef at KasKane in Skinningrove, was referred with his son Jack to the Portage Service. The service helps with the social development skills of children with additional needs and disabilities including those on the autistic spectrum. It delivers family groups across the borough each week and Jack went to the session at Guisborough Children’s Centre to help with his autism.
Dad Mark couldn’t thank the service enough, he said: “Before Jack started coming to the portage service he couldn’t really talk, he was not anti-social but he didn’t socialise very well and he wasn’t happy being in a room with other people. Now he’s mingling straight away with the other children, before he would be very clingy and he’d get very upset but the Portage team have brought him on something brilliant.”
It was the development and support Jack received that inspired Mark to raise £335 through a sponsored beard grow during the Movember campaign.
A lot of the money came from locals at the KasKane putting their change in the tin Mark had set-up at the bar. That money was used to buy new toys for the group as well as some other bits and pieces to benefit not only the other children, but their fellow parents as well.
That’s because the service doesn’t just help children, it also helps parents grow in confidence in their role as the key figures in their child’s care and development.
For Mark, being able to ask for advice and support from other parents was another major plus point for the Portage Service. He said: “Being able to share advice has been good as well, stuff like different tips and things that work for each other. Even just things like sleeping advice, if your child doesn’t sleep you can get advice off other parents on what they find works. It really does help talking to other parents; before we started we didn’t know any other parents in the same situation.”
Cllr Craig Hannaway, Cabinet Member for Children, said: “I am delighted hearing how the Portage Service has helped Jack develop, and I’m very pleased that Mark chose to raise money for the service in recognition of its great work.
“I would urge anyone that could have a child in the same situation as Jack to get more information on the Portage Service and find out how it could benefit you.”
To find out more about the Early Support and Portage Service, contact Saltburn Children’s Centre on 01287 626158 or speak to your health visitor.