Seven-year-old a vital help for her autistic sister
Jun 4 2009 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
SHE’S only seven but Charlotte Jones is a true champion.
She’s proving a vital, essential help to her autistic little sister, at home and at school.
Charlotte’s sister Sarah, six, has severe autism and is virtually unable to speak.
Sarah, who was diagnosed with the condition aged three, is prone to wandering off, climbing, and putting herself in dangerous situations.
She finds it difficult to communicate and will sometimes use German words, learnt from her German mother Elisabeth.
But Charlotte is on hand to watch her and get help when her little sister wants something.
The sisters, two of six siblings, share a bedroom at their home in Ravensknowle Road, Moldgreen, and are close in every way.
Both sisters attend Moldgreen Community Primary School where Sarah receives much-needed special help from the staff at the special autism unit.
Autism is a brain development disorder characterised by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour.
The family were first alerted to Sarah’s condition when she started to showing behaviour akin to her brother Chris, 18, who is also autistic.
Chris has ‘pathological demand avoidance’ which made him troublesome at school.
But now, thanks to therapy, he is studying animal care at Kirklees College’s Taylor Hill annexe.
Dad Simon Jones, 43, said: “Chris will do what he wants. Teaching him in the mainstream was a nightmare, but he’s come out of it very well and he’s a hard working young man.
“Sarah wasn’t learning to talk and we recognised some of the signs of autism from Chris”.
Mum Elisabeth Jones, 39, said: “Sarah is fully autistic and doesn’t talk.
“She can say a few words but a stranger wouldn’t be able to understand what she’s saying.
“When you call her she won’t answer.
“Because she doesn’t talk it will cause problems in the future so she has a speech therapist at school.
“Charlotte helps her out because she understands her.
“If Sarah wants something Charlotte will come to me or she will tell me if Sarah is doing something dangerous.
“It can be very difficult. One time when we went to her grandma’s in Batley, Sarah escaped and she went across the main road. It was really scary.
“She’s quite prone to running off because she doesn’t realise that it’s dangerous.
“Charlotte can help prevent her doing these things and report where she is.
“She’s helped Sarah since she was little.
“I think it would be an awful lot harder if Charlotte wasn’t there to help,” mum Elisabeth added.