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Eric Mitchell

When my son, Eric, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, I didn’t know where we could go to get help
Jim Mitchell - Member

Like many ICE members, Jim contributes to the Ben Fund each year with an annual voluntary donation but when his family faced their own financial pressure, he wasn’t entirely sure whether they could approach the Ben Fund for help or if their situation was critical enough to qualify for support.

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Once he made the initial contact, his fear was dispelled and he felt more at ease. Jim explained the family’s situation to the caseworker. They were faced with the withdrawal of services and interventions to support their son, Eric, through primary school. Eric had been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at the start of his primary school education and although the Mitchell’s had taken out loans and re-mortgaged the house to pay for specialist support, this was not sustainable in the long term. The interventions and support were working for Eric and Jim was concerned that if this was withdrawn, his son’s education would suffer badly. Whilst the family worked hard to secure local authority funding to pay for the interventions, the Ben Fund supported them with monthly grants.

The Ben Fund gave Eric continuity and stability and plugged a gap at a critical time
Jim - Member

Once the school funding was secured through the local authority, the Ben Fund helped with grants to compliment the school provision. The support they received helped keep Eric in mainstream education and stood him in good stead for secondary school. Eric achieved well and was very successful, leaving secondary school with 7 GCSEs. He is now 18 and is studying music and performance at college. He continues to work through his challenges, using the tools and techniques he’s worked on throughout his schooling. This allows him to thrive and enjoy following his passion of playing the guitar and performing.

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Jim and the family are so grateful for the early years support that helped Eric throughout his junior school years and they believe that this has been fundamental to his success.

The Ben Fund now has a partnership agreement with the National Autistic Society to provide more specialised services to families living with autism.