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Mother: Blue badge permit would mean my autistic son wouldn’t miss out on the things he enjoys | UK News



Hayley Shaw’s five-year-old son, Noah, is autistic and struggles with sensory overload, making it difficult for him to cope with certain situations. 

His mother told Sky News why today’s change in the law, which will allow people with “invisible” disabilities to apply for blue badge parking permits, will help to prevent her “constant worry” for his safety…

Like many children his age, Noah loves running around parks and going out playing.

He’s usually very happy and a bit of a cheeky chappy who sees the fun in things and likes to make people laugh.

His main passion is trains – he loves watching them and playing with them, and sometimes we go to a level crossing nearby just to watch the trains pass.

But he can get stressed out by lots of different things.

He’s very sensitive to noise and touch and lots of things going on around him – and this can cause him to have a meltdown.

He might just refuse to move and it’s hard to talk to him when he’s in that state. He likes to feel he’s in control of things.

Noah was diagnosed with autism when he was just turning four years old – very young to get a diagnosis.

One of the main challenges is Noah looks like a ‘normal’ child.

Noah can find some situations very overwhelming
Noah can find some situations very overwhelming

It is only when you actually spend time in his company that you realise the complex set of challenges his condition presents.

As well as sensory issues, a lot of his behaviours are driven by anxiety and it can make it quite challenging to take him to places.

He goes into this state where he has to be in control of absolutely everything, even miniscule things like where he steps on the pavement and who goes first.

If something unexpected happens, that can really throw him, so if he starts walking and something happens unexpectedly, he has to stop in his tracks and retrace his steps and start again.

Hayley wants Noah to be able to do what other children do at the weekend
Hayley wants Noah to be able to do what other children do at the weekend

Then if we’ve been inside somewhere busy, he can come out and just refuse to move or get really overwhelmed. If it’s a long way to the car, it becomes a real issue.

At the moment, the main problem is getting him to and from school safely.

We’ve got a parking permit but there is no guarantee of a space in the car park, and we don’t have parking where we live so I can’t take him door-to-door.

There’s pressure to walk him there and back which, at certain times, is really difficult.

Noah and his three-year-old sister
Noah and his three-year-old sister

Because I’ve got a three-year-old daughter as well, it’s quite challenging if it’s just me.

Sometimes as soon as Noah gets out of the car, he can suddenly bolt.

He will just run – not thinking about where he is, not thinking about cars, not thinking about danger.

It’s that constant worry about what he’s going to do next and how we’re going to keep him safe.

I would also like for Noah to be able to go out and do what other children do at the weekend.

We do have to think quite carefully before we go out about where we’re going and how far we need to walk back to the car.

'One of the main challenges is Noah looks like a 'normal' child'
Having a Blue Badge would mean Noah’s mum would feel less anxious about taking him out

As a parent, having a blue badge would make me feel much less anxious about taking him out.

We can be as close as possible to the venue to get him in safely, not crossing loads of roads or having to walk through a whole car park.

And then when he comes out, if he’s overloaded or anxious we can just get him to the car as quickly as possible.

At the moment, he’s missing out on things that he would ordinarily enjoy doing.

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