Oliver doesn’t understand where he is in time and space and has difficulties with sleeping and coordination. He has been on three Bristol Short Breaks to give the family a break, which Sarah says has been a ‘marriage saver’. 

Here she describes what life was like before she received help from Action for Children. "It wasn’t easy trying to balance everyone’s needs. We were getting no rest. He was up in the night every night, so my husband and I shared looking after him in the night so that we could each get some sleep. He never had the support he needed. We tried to keep a positive outlook for the sake of our other son, but we were at breaking point." 

Sarah 1

Sarah and Kevin came across Action for Children at a Bristol Autism event four years ago and found out about its Short Breaks in Bristol. Oliver has since been on three Short Breaks, for two or three days at a time.

The first Short Break was a marriage saver. We’d never had any time on our own, we had no babysitters. We both said “Wow!” because it made such a difference. I cried. You don’t realise how bad things are. Just to have that time to breathe and to let your head stop running is amazing.

It was also great for our eldest son because we were able to take him out for a meal and to the cinema. He really appreciated being ‘normal’ and not having to pre-plan everything. My eldest son was also able to appreciate Oliver more because of the time he spent away. He also got the chance to say things that had been bothering him. The support has been really good – it has been a family saver.

"The Action for Children staff have been outstanding. They are confident and caring and I have recommended Action for Children to so many people."


Our life has changed completely. We are more appreciative of Oliver because when he is away we really miss him and miss his smile. The Short Breaks are amazing and if they can make a difference to other people’s lives like they have ours, then it is well worth it.

Did you find this page helpful?

Help us do more.

Your support will help us make life better for the UK's most vulnerable children and young people.