12-year-old Robert has autism and haemophilia.


Before being supported, Robert found it difficult to make friends, he’d been bullied, picked on and laughed at because of being “different”. Not only was this upsetting for Robert and his mum, Susan, who also has disabilities, the situation was severely affecting his mental health and led to him self-harming.

Any form of bullying for Robert is literally life-threatening because of his haemophilia. Physical contact can cause internal bleeding which is hard to stop. Verbal abuse makes him very upset and self-harming could cause internal bleeding.

Through one of our short breaks centres, Robert’s social and physical needs were support such that he was able to make a good friend.  This helped build his confidence and make the move to secondary school much better.

Robert has made a really good friend and the staff try hard to ensure they stay over together. Staff are very attentive and Robert feels confident there. He’s now starting secondary school where many special arrangements are being put in place to keep him safe.

His mum says, ‘It’s great for Robert because he’s able to make friends with confidence – he’s really bonded with another boy and they’re now best friends.

"The staff know him for being very kind – a lot of the other children have physical disabilities and some can’t speak and Robert helps them too. That improves his confidence and the whole experience is good for him. He’s learning some independence from me. The breaks really are invaluable."

Susan, Robert's mum,