On Autism Awareness Say – how X-Factor winner had to fight to get the support her son needed.

X FACTOR winner Sam Bailey has spoken movingly about her son’s autism diagnosis and admitted “getting the right level of help can be incredibly difficult”.

Sam had to fight for a year and a half to get son Tommy into a school that could support his condition.

Tommy, 14, lives with autism and Sam has previously admitted bullies at his former school used this to their advantage as they targeted her son.

The teenager even had to be educated at home for the best part of a year due to the difficulties she had faced.

But speaking ahead of Autism Awareness Day (April 2) Sam, 47, who is a former Mum Of The Year winner, reassured parents in a similar position that they should need never feel alone

She said: “As soon as I received my son’s autism diagnosis, everything finally started to make sense. However, getting the right level of support proved to be incredibly difficult.

“Going into secondary school was a particularly challenging step. They didn’t understand him at the school, which was severely impacting his mental health.

“I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and it took me a year and a half to get him where he needed to be, find the right support networks and get him into a school where he was understood and accepted”.

Through the years, Sam has been a powerful voice on the topic, using her platform and influence to advocate for change and show others that they are not alone.

“Every day is a battle and there’s always a new struggle to face, whether at school or just in general”, Sam continued.

“Children with Special Educational Needs face unique challenges, and it’s a continuous battle to receive support, even in its most basic form.

“All children deserve equal opportunities to learn and thrive at school, to socialise and make good friends, and experience new passions and hobbies”.

This year, Sam will be the official ambassador of National Children’s Activities Week, the UK’s largest annual celebration of children’s activities, organised by What’s On 4 Kids.

The fundraising event supports the crucial work of Caudwell Children, a charity providing a wide range of practical and emotional support services for disabled and autistic children.

All the money raised will help fund vital services including the charity’s innovative autism assessment and support pathway which is delivered from their award-winning purpose-built centre in Staffordshire.

On her role as the official ambassador of the event, Sam said: “I am proud to be supporting an event that not only highlights the importance of activities in children’s development, but also one that raises money for such a vital cause.

“I believe that through activities, and getting kids together, they have a chance to learn about new things and interact with new people, which can also help enhance understanding and solidarity for children with autism.

“As a parent, and having worked with children in a previous job as a play worker, I know that it takes an incredible degree of passion and creativity to design activities to engage children in the right ways.

To find out more about Children’s Activity Week and how to get involved, please visit: https://childrensactivitiesweek.co.uk/

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