Help to cope with autism

Fredi Kilgallon and his friends at The Hollytree Nursery wearing onesies.
Fredi Kilgallon and his friends at The Hollytree Nursery wearing onesies.

Raising a child with autism can be enormously challenging for any family.

No one knows better than Anne-Marie Kilgallon and her husband, Martin, who have two young children living with the condition.

Their three-year-old son Tolan and his brother Fredi, two, both display many classic symptoms of autism and the condition means they are unable to express their emotions.

Mrs Kilgallon, of Francis Street, Mirfield, said: “Autism is a massive part of our lives. Both of our young children cannot talk and have got no form of communication.

“It is very frustrating for them not being able to express what they want to.

“Autism is when the brain does not function properly. Our boys cannot let us know if they are feeling sad or hurt. It is very much like having a new born baby but a larger version.

“It is really quite heartbreaking.”

Mrs Kilgallon, who has two other children, Mason, 12, and 10-year-old Lenny, said having two autistic children has been very challenging, but the condition has also brought her family closer together.

She said: “Without a doubt we have all become stronger because of this.

“Having children with autism adds to the pressure of family life but being together keeps us going and we are a stronger unit because of it.”

Inspired by their own experiences, the couple have been using their Batley-based food manufacturing company, The FM Taste, to raise money for the National Autistic Society.

Mrs Kilgallon said: “We as a family are keen to raise awareness of autism and support the charity We understand how difficult things can be. It is not something you are ever prepared for.”

The couple organised two fundraisers in mark world autism awareness day, which was on Wednesday April 2.

Pupils and staff at Fairfields School, in White Lee Road, Batley, all dressed in onesies and colourful clothing to mark the event.

The school, which is attended by Tolan, raised almost £100.

Another fundraiser at The Hollytree Nursery, in Ravensthorpe, saw Fredi’s classmates also wear onesies in support of the charity.

The nursery raised more than £350.

Mrs Kilgallon said: “We have really been touched by the response from everyone.

“The issue is really important to us and we are grateful for the support.”